Property editor of the NZ Herald

Mr Pauanui's death marks end of an era

Ian Hopper was a coastal property development specialist.
Ian Hopper was a coastal property development specialist.

Auckland construction and coastal property development specialist Ian Hopper passed away this week in Pauanui aged 86.

Hopper Developments, which sprang from Hopper Bros founded by brother Ian and Tony Hopper, is one of New Zealand's biggest coastal land development companies and was responsible for the Pauanui and Whitianga waterways canal housing schemes.

Tim Brooks, Hopper general manager, said the firm was now under the stewardship of Ian's son Leigh.

"From a civil construction background, Hopper Bros was a significant residential property developer from the late 1950s to the 1980s, developing many subdivisions on the North Shore, Hibiscus Coast and Coromandel peninsula. Ian and Tony were seen as visionaries within the industry and incorporated many innovative construction and planning methods into their subdivisions to ensure they met the lifestyle aspirations of their clients.

"Ian 'Mr Pauanui' is known for his longtime involvement with that development which began in the mid 1960s," Brooks said.

Howard Jury, Hopper Construction business manager, said Ian Hopper was born in 1929 at Whangaparaoa where his parents ran the general store.

He left school at 13 to work on the family farm, later working on other farms and in the timber industry where he learnt to drive bulldozers.

"In the late 1940s and early 1950s, in conjunction with his older brother Tony, they worked as a partnership doing earthmoving and operating as building supply merchants. In 1956, Hopper Bros was formed and they purchased land at Little Manly and carried out their first subdivision," Jury said, estimating the company had created at least 7000 housing sections.

The Pauanui development started in 1967.

"It was a success with stage after stage being sold out as fast as sections could be developed in the late 1960s to early 1970s," Jury said.

In 1992, Ian Hopper led the company to develop the first stage of Pauanui Waterways, then New Zealand's first canal housing development, where 2400 sections have now been created.

"More recent developments Ian has been involved with include the Whitianga Waterways and Marsden Cove canal housing subdivisions," Jury said.

Hopper Developments has civil construction, land development and retirement village businesses, with an annual turnover of around $50 million.

"Ian was the last of his siblings to pass away, so this is the end of an era," Jury said.

Ian Hopper's funeral is at 11am on Monday, at the Pauanui Club, Pauanui, Coromandel.

Ian Hopper

• Coastal property development specialist.
• Born in 1929 at Whangaparaoa.
• Left school at 13 to work on the family farm.
• Worked in the timber industry where he learnt to drive bulldozers.
• In the late 1940s and early 1950s worked with his older brother Tony, doing earthmoving and operating as building supply merchants.
• In 1956, Hopper Bros was formed, purchased land at Little Manly and carried out their first subdivision.
• Company estimated to have created at least 7000 housing sections.

- NZ Herald

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