Kirsty Wynn

Kirsty Wynn is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

Family memories revisited in The Block house sale

Marion O'Connell, daughter-in-law of the original owner, visits with daughter Fran Harris and grandson Dominic. Photo / Doug Sherring
Marion O'Connell, daughter-in-law of the original owner, visits with daughter Fran Harris and grandson Dominic. Photo / Doug Sherring

Memories of golden delicious apples and a dog called Chum haven't faded but everything else has changed on The Block.

The original owners of one of the houses on the hit TV3 renovation show said the former two-bedroom home now occupied by contestants Rachel Rasch and Tyson Hill was unrecognisable.

The reality show pits four couples against each other as they renovate houses in the upmarket suburb of Takapuna on Auckland's North Shore.

"It is completely different. It is lovely and modern now. They have done a fantastic job," said Marion O'Connell, 85, whose in-laws bought 74 Anzac St in 1949.

Each of the houses, bought by TV production company Eyeworks for $635,000, have a pre-renovation CV of $750,000.

The O'Connells had a private viewing of their old family home with Bayleys Real Estate agent Jackie Smith yesterday. Potential buyers were given a sneak view ahead of the public open homes next weekend.

Granddaughter Fran Harris remembers the "crispest" golden delicious apples from the back garden and juicy feijoas from the front.

Mary and Tim O'Connell, or Nana and Pa to their nine grandchildren, lived in the house for much of their married lives. Tim lived in the home for another 15 years after Mary died.

"It was perfect for him, he was close to the Cossie Club and the church, and the liquor store delivered a case of beer every couple of weeks," said grandson Bernard.

The family also had a border collie called Chum who would trot to the dairy with a note and some money tied around his neck and return with a loaf of bread.

"It didn't quite work as well when he went to the butcher though," said Bernard.

The family all watch the show but have no firm favorite.

"We just hope Nana and Pa are looking down - I'm sure they would be happy."

The houses go to auction on September 6.

- Herald on Sunday

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