The seismic behaviour of typical unreinforced masonry (URM) brick houses that were common in early last century in NZ, and still common in many developing countries, is experimentally investigated in this research. A one half-scale model house was constructed and tested under earthquake ground motions on a shaking table. The one-room house per floor was constructed with clay brick masonry laid with cement-lime-sand mortar. The model house had a conventional timber floor and timber frame roof clad with clay tiles. The layout of openings, door and windows were sized and located to be representative of a range of a typical construction practice. The model structure, which had a length to width (plan) aspect ratio of 1.5:1 was initially tested in the longitudinal with several earthquakes with PGA up to 0.5g. Damage was limited to toppling of the end gables (above the eaves line) and minor to moderate cracking around window and door piers. The structure was then rotated 900 and tested in the transverse (short) direction with ground motions with PGA in excess of 0.5g. Global rocking occurred and partial out-of-plane failure of walls was observed in the second storey.