Thoje Hood juggles multiple roles.

After getting into property investment in his 20s, he now focuses his attention on social enterprises and is also building up AdviseMe, which is dedicated to matchmaking small business owners with business advisers.

Mr Hood was born in Noosa, Queensland, of Kiwi parents.

The family returned to Christchurch, where he was brought up.


Key influences growing up were martial arts, and his education at a Rudolf Steiner school.

"The school was extremely good for what they offered, which was the ability to think creatively and out of the box and that was incredibly useful," said Mr Hood who is passionate about education.

His father was a well-known tai chi teacher and Thoje learned Shaolin kung fu from an early age.

"We went to China together once a year from when I was 11," said Mr Hood. When he was 16, his father caught tuberculosis during one of their China visits and became ill, eventually dying when Mr Hood was 21.

He opted out of going to university and instead did a one-year adventure tourism course at Christchurch Polytechnic to transition from high school.

"I did a lot of self development and saw a lot of people going into university and not getting a guaranteed job, coming out with debt and not using their degree as they had planned," he said.

Eventually, Mr Hood became interested in property management and spent six months doing due diligence by visiting and questioning property managers around the country. Realising there was an opportunity to compete with real estate agents as an independent property manager, at the age of 21 he set up ROC Property Management, which he eventually built up to an average of 100 tenancies.

The time he spent with older, savvy property investors trying to win their rental business fuelled his own interest, and he bought his first rental property in Christchurch in 2003.

"I learned a lot from them, much more than if I had done a course in property investing."

At one point he owned about 14 properties in Christchurch. But in 2007, having become more focused on the investment side and because he was devoting more time to social enterprises, he sold the rental business to his then manager, who still manages his properties in the city.

He divested some of his properties, went through the upheaval of the earthquake, and began to diversify his portfolio. Two years ago, for family reasons, he bought a house in Mount Maunganui and relocated to Tauranga.

He has increasingly focused on developing a professional directorship profile and is a member of the Institute of Directors and a former IoD Bay of Plenty committee member.

Since arriving in Tauranga he has set up a new business, AdviseMe, which aims to match up small business owners with compatible business advisers and directors.

"There is a huge pool of small business operators working very hard and not getting the advice they need at a price they can afford," he said.

Smaller operators did not always get the right professional directors involved because they depended on family and friends.

AdviseMe offers an interactive programme of three workshops to identify the business owners' problems and help them find suitable advisers.

"We looked at bringing together two communities, the advisory community, and the small business community," he said.

"The businesses often don't have the time or contacts to build the professional relationships. And we also add value to the advisory community.

"The aim is to find the best match of people for the business or organisation."

Mr Hood is also excited about the development of a social enterprise hub in the Bay of Plenty, which he is working on in partnership with Venture Centre and the Akina Foundation.

Thoje Hood:

* Role: Property investor, founder of AdviseMe & Toi Toi Manawa, chair Ed.Collective

* Born: Queensland, Australia

* Age: 34

* First job: Property manager

* Recently watched: Sir Ken Robinson Ted Talk -