Ponsonby’s ‘dancing granny’ -– Miriam Annette Muzyka – has her grand villa up for sale.
Like Miriam, her home exudes personality and possibility. There aren’t many do-ups like this to be found, especially on such large pieces of prime land in the heart of Ponsonby.
Miriam co-owns the house with her two sons Vladi and Yuri. Now 85-years-old, she suffers from dementia and lives in a rest home. Both her sons visit their locally famous mum regularly.
Peter Muzyaka, born in Kiev, Ukraine, bought the house in 1956, met English-born Miriam in Auckland, and they filled the house with a family. Peter, a stonemason, ran the place as a boarding house after Miriam left the marriage when the two boys were young. Guests included alcoholics and single women and men. Ukrainian and Russian friends of Peter’s visited and they liked a drink or two, Vladi and Yuri recall.
Miriam moved into a State house in Avondale where Vladi sometimes stayed the night with her, though he remained living at number 33. After Peter’s death, Miriam returned to the house and furthered her education.
She learned Russian and attended Elam School of Fine Arts. The boys continued to live with her. Vladi’s memories of this time include living in the house with his late partner as well as his mum. Miriam was definitely a favourite with the locals. She delivered circulars in Ponsonby, Freemans Bay and Herne Bay for years right into her 80s.
Miriam is dubbed the ‘dancing granny’ because, on market days, she would abandon her circular-filled trolley for a while and dance with the locals.“I can’t help it – it’s in me,” she is quoted as saying about dancing.
During her deliveries, she also made friends with the Chinese community of women in Ponsonby and Grey Lynn shops. The women would give Miriam leftover food.
Unfortunately, Vladi says staying in their home doesn’t make good sense money-wise. The rates are high for them, cash is needed for the usual maintenance an old home requires and the brothers cannot work these days due to ill health. Most importantly, money is needed to help with Miriam’s rest home care.
Viewers of the house have marvelled at the size of the land and have talked about what a great do-up project it is.
Vladi and Yuri would dearly love to see their home returned to its former beauty and grandeur. An expensive business, perhaps, but worth it in the end. Character, in the form of high, detailed ceilings, architraves, ornate fireplaces and large living areas, still exist in the old dame. The original floorboards lay in wait, under the carpet, of a good sand and polish to bring them back to life.
Someone is going to dance 33 Vermont Street back to its grandeur, and own a special home with a rich, colourful history.
For further details call Steven Glucina on M: 021 888 455, www.ponsonby.ljhooker.co.nz/AQSGUK/33-vermont-street-ponsonby