SIZE: Land 776sq m, house 200sq m.
PRICE INDICATION: CV $1.475 million.
INSPECT: Sat/Sun 10.30am-11.15am, or by appointment.
SCHOOL ZONES: Murrays Bay School, Murrays Bay Intermediate, Rangitoto College.
CONTACT: Simron Singh, 021 900 155, and Ken Choong, 021 780 524, Ray White.
AUCTION: May 24.
*3 OSP-plus

From the day that Ernest Wong carried his new bride Grace over the threshold here, this home has been a memorable "all or nothing" experience for the entire Wong family.

This former 1940s cottage that Ernest and Grace bought ahead of their marriage in April 1969 was everything she had ever wanted, with three bedrooms, a good bit of land and a beach nearby.

For more than 40 years, family and friends filled this home, framed with a flourish of English-style roses and freesias, which Grace created against a backdrop of puriri trees and camellias.

When the family outgrew the capacity of the modest original dwelling, they extended and renovated it and embraced a larger version of family life.


For Ernest and Grace and their three daughters Fiona, Liz and Carolyn, the link with their only family home was broken in January, when Grace passed away three years after the death of Ernest.

In later years this was the family hub for the six Wong grandchildren who make up the third generation of a Chinese family with links to New Zealand dating back to 1913 but who were still one of the few Chinese families in this neighbourhood when the girls were at school in the 1980s.

The girls' memories include lying in front of the fire during the winter, playing in the garden and their annual post-Christmas Day lunch walks to the beach to add to their shell collections.

Of the house itself, the girls who were born in the 1970s talk of its simpler form as a rectangular cottage with a basement area with no internal access.

When the girls were still very young, they shared this home with Grace's brother from Hong Kong who boarded with the family while he was a student at nearby Rangitoto College.

In 1979 Grace and Ernest renovated and extended the house, building extra bedrooms above the basement garage and installing a central staircase down to the laundry and fifth bedroom/extra lounge off the basement lobby.

The upstairs has delivered everything the family needed. The four bedrooms (or three plus a study) include the master bedroom (with dressing room and en suite) which has the biggest views to Rangitoto Island.

At one point the front bedroom, with french doors opening to the courtyard, was the master bedroom. At some stage, each of the girls has adopted this as their bedroom.

In their building project, Grace and Ernest designed adaptability into their floor plan with multiple living and dining options close to the kitchen with green views on either side.

The kitchen has Grace's requisite seaward views with living/dining space out to the deck that also opens off two of the bedrooms.

On the opposite side, the separate toilet is next to the family bathroom with its separate shower and bath.

Built-in furniture is a feature here, from the wardrobes to the lounge bookshelves and the matching timber credenza beneath the sliding windows between the lounge and the family room.

The kitchen has timber cabinetry with a laminate bench and a large corner pantry, famously "large enough to sleep five kids", says Carolyn.

In truth, it was built for Grace to honour her love of good food, large-scale entertaining and her qualification as a Cordon Bleu chef.

Now though, these are spaces that this family no longer have any practical need for. They have packed up a world of memories and opened up its potential to enable another family to enjoy.