Is the Kiwi bach dying?

The iconic New Zealand bach has been a huge part of the country’s history and culture since the 1950s.

Recently, more and more modern properties are being introduced, possibly replacing the traditional baches that has served as vacation destinations for New Zealanders for decades.

Is this the end of a classic tradition as we know it? Or is this the beginning of a new generation of baches?

According to an article by The New Zealand Herald‘s Joanna Mathers titled “The Big Read: The death of the Kiwi bach,” the New Zealand bach represents the culture of the country’s ” much touted (now somewhat frayed) egalitarian ethos.”

Mathers said that technology and a corporatised world is changing the bach holiday experience for good, because property management companies have tapped into the world of baches, “bringing a competitive, money-focused model with them.”

She quoted people with different perspectives on the matter. One of them, bach owner Trevor Willcock, said that the transformation is the opposite of the Kiwi holiday idea. “I think property management companies aren’t doing the industry any favours by making holidays too expensive for New Zealanders,” he said.

One example of such companies is Bachcare, currently the biggest holiday home management agency in the country.

This company, which has up to dozens of homes in 12 regions, boasts of over 1,000 holiday homes throughout the country.

“We did a survey last Labour Weekend and discovered that people want a lot more from their holiday homes than in the past,” said Leslie Preston, founder of Bachcare. “Seventy-five per cent of those who responded said they wanted the option of rubbish removal and cleaning. The old, traditional way of renting a bach is being replaced.”

An article published in January 2015 on The New York Times says that New Zealand baches are getting a luxury makeover. It reported that in the recent years, the New Zealand dream of owning a bach has become more and more difficult (and expensive) to acquire.

The changes were brought about by strengthened building standards, as well as bylaws regulating the used of coastal properties.

Helen O’Sullivan, chief executive of Real Estate Institute of New Zealand said that owning a vacation home remains a Kiwi aspiration.

“It’s everything from land purchases in the middle of nowhere that people can enjoy with a tent, all the way up to beautiful beachfront homes,” she said.

“The bach itself might be exactly the same as when it was first built. It’s just it now has mansions on either side,” she added.