An oil painting purportedly by one of New Zealand's most infamous killers is up for grabs online after being found in the rafters of a South Island garage following an earthquake.

The painting, depicting an ocean scene, is said to have been crafted by Ron Jorgensen - one of the men behind the 1963 Bassett Rd machine gun murders in Remuera.

Back in the day, 115 Bassett Rd had been operating as a beer house, a place where people could drink their grog and spin their tales well under the radar of the authorities.

This painting, purportedly by infamous murderer Ron Jorgensen, is for sale. Photograph/TradeMe
This painting, purportedly by infamous murderer Ron Jorgensen, is for sale. Photograph/TradeMe

On December 7, 1963 the men behind the operation, George Walker and Kevin Speight, were found dead.

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The pair were executed in the front room of the house by Jorgensen and John Gillies, two men known to police for the part they were already playing in Auckland's seedy underbelly.

Their bodies were riddled with bullets from a .45-calibre machine gun.

It was the first time such a weapon, famously favoured by legendary gangster Al Capone, had been used in a crime in New Zealand.

The oil painting has been signed
The oil painting has been signed "Jorgensen" and has a $2500 asking price. Photograph/TradeMe

Until Bassett Rd, police did not believe there were any firearms of the sort in New Zealand.

The killers were both sentenced to life in prison.

Jorgensen was released on parole 21 years later, on the condition that he lived the rest of his life in Kaikoura.

In 1984, Jorgensen's car was found wrecked at the bottom of a cliff, and he was never seen again.

Many believed he had faked his death, but he was eventually declared dead by officials.

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This week an artwork said to be painted by Jorgensen was put up for auction on Trade Me.

Jorgensen was well known for his painting, starting in his first year of prison.

He was largely self-taught with some paintings selling for as much as $10,000.

Other prison artwork includes portraits - notably one of accused and pardoned double murderer Arthur Allan Thomas - and still life.

Self-portrait of Ron Jorgensen infamous as the Bassett Road machine gun murderer is up for auction. Supplied to the Herald on Sunday by Richard Thomson
Self-portrait of Ron Jorgensen infamous as the Bassett Road machine gun murderer is up for auction. Supplied to the Herald on Sunday by Richard Thomson

The painting up for auction has a $2500 asking price and has been viewed by more than 300 people.

Nash Robertson, who is selling the piece, included a photograph of the artist's signature, which clearly says Jorgensen.

"This original piece of Ronald Jorgensen fell out of the rafters of my late father's garage in the Kaikoura Earthquake," Robertson said on the auction site.

"It's not in perfect condition as the photo's will show, but feel free to email any questions."

In 2013 Annick and Tim Larkin purchased the Bassett Rd property where the murders took place.

After the deal was done their real estate agent dropped the bombshell on the home's notorious history.

"We were signing on the dotted line and the agent said, literally just as we were signing, 'Do you know anything about the history of the house?"' Mrs Larkin told the Herald later.

"And the agent told us that the vendor thought we might like to know the house had a bit of a scary history to it, that two people were murdered in here in 1963."

The news did not deter the Larkins from their dream home.

"It's never bothered us at all, it doesn't faze us one bit."

When the Herald visited in 2013, the room where Walker and Speight were gunned down was used as a family lounge - a Christmas tree in one corner, wedding photos on the wall, comfy couches and toys masking the gory past.

Bassett Road in 2013: Annick Larkin at 115 Bassett Rd, Remuera. Scene of 1963 machine gun massacre. Herald on Sunday photograph by Michael Craig
Bassett Road in 2013: Annick Larkin at 115 Bassett Rd, Remuera. Scene of 1963 machine gun massacre. Herald on Sunday photograph by Michael Craig

"It's bizarre, surreal," Annick Larkin said of the room, after seeing crime scene photos.

"But it's never been creepy.

"We've never felt weird in the room."