Property boom's big boost for grandkids

Last updated 05:00 10/08/2014
Hertha Harang

Hertha Harang's 12 grandchildren who will benefit from the sale of their grandmother's Auckland home.

Hertha Harang's
Hertha Harang's house on Aratonga Ave in Greelane sold for $320,000 more than its government valuation of $520,000.
Hertha Harang
HERTHA HARANG: Died in February.

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Auckland's boomingproperty market and a proposed new school zone have proved a boon for the 12 grandchildren of a late German-Jewish woman.

Hertha Harang died in February, leaving her assets to her 12 grandchildren. Her daughter, Rosalind Peterson, was amazed when her mother's two-bedroom Greenlane house sold for 65 per cent more than its government valuation. The 123sqm brick and tile home was valued at $520,000 in 2011 and the family expected to get a bit more than $600,000, Peterson said. Instead, it took a bid of $860,000 to close the deal.

Harang's will said the money from the house and her other assets was to go to her grandchildren, including Peterson's six children, to help pay for education and other life investments.

Peterson's 21-year-old son Andrew planned to use his inheritance to buy his own home and her 15-year-old son Tim hoped to start up an investment portfolio.

Barfoot & Thompson residential sales agent Nick Lyus said Peterson was "blown away" by the result and while she was not at the auction she was "dumbfounded" at what she heard of the bidding on the phone. The house was the worst house in the best street but had a lot of potential, he said.

The house is in what's dubbed the "double grammar zone" taking in Epsom Girls' Grammar School and Auckland Grammar School, which normally attracts a premium of around 20 per cent. Now, with the Ministry of Education recently having given One Tree Hill college the green light to draw up its own zone, the school (with a booming reputation) has put forward a zone that would overlap with both Epsom and Auckland, increasing the drawing power of the area.

Lyus said it was unusual for the money from an estate sale to go to the grandchildren rather than children but it was good to see Peterson's children benefiting when they had been involved with the cleanup of the property pre-sale.

Harang's legacy marks a positive ending to a colourful but hard life.

Hertha von Kuenssberg was born in Heidelberg, Germany. Her father was an aristocrat and university professor and her mother was Jewish.

When Hitler came to power the young, tall, blue-eyed, blonde-haired Harang was paraded in front of her class as an example of the Aryan race. But when the war broke out and it was discovered she was half-Jewish, her life of luxury was turned upside down, Peterson said.

Harang and her siblings were forced to flee Germany, leaving behind their parents. Her father was killed by the Nazis while her mother fled to Britain.

Harang married a Norwegian, Erling Harang, but when she was ostracised in Norway for being German, the pair emigrated to New Zealand where Harang worked as a nurse and a strawberry packer, raising four children.

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Harang bought the Greenlane house on Aratonga Ave in 1988.

- Sunday Star Times


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