Society and Rich List circles are chattering about Auckland real estate dynamo Heather Walton's new book.
Walton's mega success in real estate is a far cry from her humble beginnings — and comes after a high-profile divorce last decade.
In the 2000s, she had one of the best homes on Remuera's Victoria Avenue and was living the rich-list life. But her divorce — the focus of two North & South articles about cautionary tales around navigating divorce and not going broke — brought all that crashing down.
"The new book is more about the next phase of my life, coaching and mentoring, acknowledging the past only to share the skills and coping mechanisms to help other people navigate their journeys, and hopefully make a difference," Walton tells Spy.
Walton grew up wearing hand-me-downs from her older three siblings and was embarrassed to invite friends to their tiny, rundown home for fear of being judged.
A child of the yuppie 1980s where popular culture had people wanting to keep up with the Joneses. Walton asked her parents to drop her off a block away from school so no one would see their beaten-up car or find out she was from a family of tomato growers.
She began her career as a legal executive and says her humble beginnings instilled in her grit and determination. That helped when she was eventually bankrupted after her divorce. The $60 million in assets she and her property investor husband had gathered during their six years together were locked up in a maze of family trusts of which she was neither trustee nor beneficiary.
Seven years ago, Walton says she was already on her way to becoming whole again. She was thriving in real estate and in 2016 was crowned Ray White NZ Number 1, selling multi million-dollar properties all over Auckland.
She married respected car dealer Mark Bycroft in 2015. Since then, the couple have dominated the real estate market now owning several of their own Ray White franchises.
Walton tells Spy her book — Rags to Riches to the Real Me — has prompted friends and rich listers from her old circles, who went through similar turmoil with their own messy break-ups, to text her with congratulations. And many are desperate to read it to see if they feature.
The book, dedicated to her husband, was written for the international market and launches on Thursday. Walton says it will teach readers ways to overcome adversity, abuse and trauma. "If I can do it anyone can," says Walton.