Scarfie house

A bit of nostalgia – the house that featured in the movie Scarfies is up for sale.

ODT reports: Piece of movie history up for auction

If only the walls at 49 Brown St could talk. This Dunedin house on the hill has a colourful history.

It was once a house for refugees after World War 2 and before that, it is believed to have been a brothel.

I lived in that house before Scarfies, I boarded there with the owner family and other boarders in the mid seventies.


I was in the top right room. Many people will have lived at 49 Brown Street.

More recently, the house was used in the film Scarfies, which told the story of five students who moved into an abandoned house and discovered marijuana plants in the basement.

The house is now for sale with Edinburgh Realty and will go to auction later this month, though the basement portrayed in the movie does not exist.

I remember the poky ‘basement’ as the owners did some re-piling work while I was there.


As the Scarfies house (the colour I remember it)

Movie details: Scarfies aka Crime 101

Dunedin being Dunedin I’ve also had something to do with the owner of 30 years, both professionally and then later she purchased a different house off me (another old character house).

For years, the outside of the Brown St flat was “very creepy” because the family could not afford to paint it, which made it perfect for the film, she said. But in reality, it was nothing like the sinister flat portrayed in the Scarfies movie.

“The inside was always quite lovely. It was humble, but bright – a very sunny flat with amazing views – views to die for.”

It was old but tidy enough when I was there and yes, great views over Dunedin and the harbour. And a steep climb up many steps each day to get there after work.

“It will be a wonderful opportunity for someone else to own a piece of Dunedin film-making history.”

Nah, not interested.

The house must have been painted recently. If you look at it on Street View from Brown Street it looks very tidy (top photo)…


…but from the side street it looks more like it’s Scarfie days (and similar but more run down than the seventies).

Leave a comment


  1. Gezza

     /  1st June 2016

    I never saw “Scarfies” the movie. Still don’t want to.

    Was it any good? If so, do you stand by all your statements to that effect, and if so, why?

    • jamie

       /  1st June 2016

      Were the actors quoting an official script? If so, I request that it be tabled 😀

  2. duperez

     /  1st June 2016

    This post reminds me of talking to a family member in Auckland about capitalising on an ordinary, not large Auckland suburban house in a not flash area and moving to Dunedin. It would be colder there but he’d be able to get a comfortable place and have a fair bit of money to use. (Like or

    • Interestingly the rating value for the Scarfie house of $320,000 but there may have been subsequent improvements that affect the auction value.

  3. jamie

     /  1st June 2016

    Was your bedroom used in the film?

    • I don’t know if any bedrooms were used in the film, but if they were they were substantially altered.

      • jamie

         /  1st June 2016

        They may have used sets for the interiors, or some of them. I remember seeing a Wellington house I once lived in used in a film, and when I saw the glorious immaculate interiors I had to laugh. I wish it had been in that condition when I lived there!

        • I think that sets are the norm in film making. But outside shots in locations you know can add special interest to movies.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  1st June 2016

            Most real rooms would be too small to use in films, there wouldn’t be room for the cameras and other things.

            • Gezza

               /  1st June 2016

              You obviously haven’t seen some of the action-oriented home videos I’ve watched on YouTube Kitty. Not sure if PG would let me post you some links. o_O

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