Shrouded with Cabbage Trees (Ti Kouka in Maori) give it a real country look despite being in the middle of the city. Incidentally, cabbage trees are gaining popularity elsewhere - in UK landscaping as a hardy cold weather palm where they are known as the Torquey Palm, but the most impressive examples I've ever seen were in the lake district of southern Chile.
**Since initially posting this, the owner has been in touch with some interesting facts about the house and John Street;
"During the renovations we found pages of the AUCKLAND STAR newspaper used as wallpaper pasted to two of the internal walls dated April 7 1886, in remarkable condition. This was quite common on early NZ dwellings where building materials were hard to get.
When the section was first sold and the house was built, John Street did not run all the way between Richmond Rd and Jervois Rd. The top half between Richmond Rd and Summer St was called Oliphant Street, which is the address detail on the last paper title. By 1895, from the maps I have found - the rest of the sections were formed and the road joined up with John Street. It was renamed all John Street in the late 1930s."
Thanks, Richard very interesting stuff!