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Future of Sir Edmund Hillary’s house in doubt

Former New Zealand cricketer Terry Jarvis, who lives next door to the property in Auckland, said the house does not have any features that are worth saving except for the study where the famous mountaineer worked. But he has offered to give it to his family if they pay for it to be moved.

But the Hillary family has rejected the offer on the ground of cost and there is now a debate over whether or not the property should be saved.

Jarvis confirmed for the first time that he bought the property in March for $1.9 million. He said that he and real estate guru Graham Wall are in discussions with Auckland Museum and mountaineer Graeme Dingle about the possibility of relocating the house from its existing Remuera site.

The house was built by Sir Edmund in 1956, three years after he conquered Everest, and has sweeping views of Waitemata Harbour, but most of its value lies in the land, not the bricks and mortar, Jarvis said.

He said he had offered to gift it to the Hillary family for relocation, but they had said no as relocating the home is a logistical nightmare and expensive, believed to be around $80,000.

'I'm not sure that saving the whole house would have any benefit. That's why I think the museum could take it on and fill parts of the house with the memorabilia they have,' said Jarvis.

However, Auckland Museum chairman William Randall said that the study furniture might be of interest to the museum but not the whole property.

Dingle said he wanted to preserve the property and there is a possible site owned by his Project K Foundation for Youth Development organisation at the northern end of Kaipara Harbour.

'The house has so many good memories for us including meetings with Ed, parties with Ed, and times with the family which were very special. We'd quite like to think it would be available for the family and friends of Ed to come and stay,' said Dingle.