A modest white bungalow on one of Auckland's best known streets has sat unchanged as others have morphed into multimillion-dollar mansions.

With rose bushes at the front and a back garden filled with fruit trees, the much-loved Sarsfield St house is now on the market.

The three-bedroom house was the first family home of Niuean-Norwegian couple Mana and Sverre Sandoy.

Like many other newcomers to the melting pot of Auckland in the 1950s the pair met - and fell in love - at the popular night spot The Orange Ballroom.

Advertisement
Mana has passed away and the family home is up for sale. The family is one of the original Nuiean families that lived in the area. Photo / Supplied from family
Mana has passed away and the family home is up for sale. The family is one of the original Nuiean families that lived in the area. Photo / Supplied from family

Mana Nuiloa was a beautiful young woman who had just arrived with her family on the MV Tofua from Niue; Sverre Sandoy was a tall and handsome Norwegian seaman.

Fast-forward nearly 70 years and the home they paid no more than $10,000 for is valued at $2.6 million.

FOR MORE PROPERTY NEWS AND LISTINGS GO TO ONEROOF.CO.NZ

With Mana's death early this year the decision was made to "sadly farewell" the family home often visited by the four children, 10 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

"Our parents saved hard to buy the house. We lived with my grandmother on Franklin Rd for years while they saved for the deposit," daughter Nancy Sandoy-Wright said.

"That is how most Pacific families in the area owned their own homes, by having multiple generations in one house."

Family photos supplied by Nancy Sandoy-Wright of her family and her mother Mana. Photo / Supplied
Family photos supplied by Nancy Sandoy-Wright of her family and her mother Mana. Photo / Supplied

Nancy said the four siblings had considered keeping the house that was the foundation of so many happy memories but had decided to sell.

"We had a happy life there but we talked about it and we are all getting older and we have had our dream - now it can be someone else's dream."

Advertisement

Nancy and the three other Sandoy children Svein, Torstein and Tiana went to local schools and worked in factories and hotels as teenagers to "pay board".

They are now all nearing or just past 60 with children and grandchildren of their own.

They still live locally and have witnessed the popular inner city suburb change from a largely blue-collar Pacific Island community to the $2m-plus suburb it is today.

Read more property news from OneRoof:
House for sale - but you're not allowed in
'Rat-infested' former convent sells for $4.1million
How reality TV is upending the NZ property market
Ex-Block judge's top tips for presenting your property

With no family car, the days were spent walking or biking around the area, playing sport or swimming at Point Erin Pools where Sverre worked when he was not at sea.

Hours spent at the pools before the crowds arrived for the day paid off with all four siblings strong swimmers and the boys water polo players for New Zealand.

"If we misbehaved at the pools we were banned like everyone else, Dad was very fair," Nancy said.

"I was banned once for going into the boys' changing rooms but if we were banned we would just go and swim at the beach."

Thursday nights were spent shopping at well-known K Rd store Rendells and it was up the road to church with the other local teens on Fridays.

Mana and Sverre Sandoy paid less than $10,000 for the Sarsfield St, Auckland, home 70 years ago. It is now on the market.
Mana and Sverre Sandoy paid less than $10,000 for the Sarsfield St, Auckland, home 70 years ago. It is now on the market.
The property on Sarsfield Street, Auckland.
The property on Sarsfield Street, Auckland.

Sverre died 30 years ago but Mana stayed in the family home until her death in January.

"Mum was really well known and loved in the area. With her there none of the fruit rotted, she would be out there gathering it for preserves and giving to the neighbours," Nancy said.

"She was frugal and would walk everywhere to save the bus fare so we could have things."

Torstein said the area had plenty of bars and used to be perceived as being very dangerous with drunks spilling out on to the streets.

"I remember walking home with some of my water polo friends and they would stop when we got to Three Lamps and tuck their money into their shoes so they weren't robbed going past the old Gluepot Tavern."

Well-known local minister Rev. Mua Strickson-Pua also lived in the area and remembers the Sandoy family from social and sports events.

With brother Sofi Ulugia-Pua he runs historical walking tours through the area.

He said some of the young people who take the tour The Pasifika Years are angry and upset that their families were "pushed out" of the inner city to the suburbs in the 1970s and 80s with promises of jobs and houses.

"They stand outside their grandparents' house and can imagine what it was like from the stories they have been told.

"They moved out to South Auckland with the promise of jobs at the freezing works and then those places later closed down."

Strickson-Pua, who still lives in the area, said there was now less than 10 per cent Pasifika people in the area.

Nancy said some fancy establishments such as Ponsonby Central (which she remembers as a calendar shop) made her feel like a stranger in her own neighbourhood.

"It's funny, none of us dine out in Ponsonby, but our children do.

"We don't get why you would want to sit on the side of the road eating and breathing in fumes but it's the thing to do."

The house is being marketed by Steven Glucina of LJ Hooker.

"This is location at its best - stroll to Ponsonby Primary, Jervois and Ponsonby Rd bars, cafes, eateries and boutiques."

The house will be auctioned on Wednesday, June 20.