Michael Smith, chairman of First Mortgage Managers, the owner of First Mortgage Trust, has announced the pending retirement of CEO, Tony Kinzett, after 15 years at the helm of the organisation.
Smith said Kinzett had led the business through significant change and growth in the last 15 years.
"When Tony came into the role in 2006, the investor fund size was $280 million. By comparison, we now have over $1 billion in the trust, with nearly 5000 investors on-board," he said.
"To achieve this, Tony has built a strong team around him, plus he has developed a loyal investor base, and a national network of quality advisors who advocate for First Mortgage Trust and bring quality lending opportunities to us."
Kinzett said his time in the role has been hugely satisfying and rewarding, but it was now time to step aside and let the next CEO come through.
"First Mortgage Trust in a very good place. We are the leading non-bank first mortgage lender in New Zealand, and we've just been named Best NZ Non-Bank of the Year by NZ Adviser," he said.
"When I look back over my time at the helm, I reflect on the good times but also on the harder times like the global financial crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic.
"It's during these tough times that you see the true calibre of those around you, and I couldn't be prouder of the people I had around me on both those occasions."
New Zealand owned First Mortgage Trust is headquartered in Tauranga, and this year marks 25 years in business.
Smith said that the board is taking the selection process very seriously, with an expectation that the appointment will be made well before his retirement.
"Everyone is committed to a seamless transition, so we are embarking on the process with that end goal in mind.
"Tony is very much committed to the trust's ongoing wellbeing, so it's very much a 'business as usual' approach that will be Tony's legacy."
Zespri's plan to counter fast-spreading rogue gold fruit in China
Unlawful growing of Zespri-owned gold kiwifruit in China has spread by 1500 hectares in a year to now involve at least 5500ha, making it highly risky for the global marketer to do nothing, says chief executive Dan Mathieson.
The rogue growing of Zespri's top selling SunGold fruit follows plants being smuggled out of New Zealand, and Mathieson said it would continue to spread.
This was why the company would in June seek a vote from its grower-owners supporting a tightly-controlled commercial trial with Chinese growers.
China is the biggest producer of kiwifruit in the world and is Zespri's biggest export market alongside Japan. SunGold is now New Zealand's biggest kiwifruit seller. The unlawfully grown fruit, for which Zespri owns the IP, is already being sold in China.
Zespri is among the top fruit consumer brands in China.
Zespri is proposing a one season trial starting later this year contracting about 20 Chinese growers to supply up to 200,000 trays of SunGold, or G3 variety as it's known in the sector.
The fruit would be contractually procured and quality would be monitored in the orchards and a post-harvest facility, with Zespri marketing and selling in China fruit that met its quality standards.
Mathieson has been working on the proposal in China with growers and local and central Chinese Government.
If the trial was successful, Zespri would go back to its 2500-plus New Zealand growers to ask to start a second trial in March next year.
The upshot could be commercial growing of Zespri-branded kiwifruit in China.
Embark helping real estate agents thrive post Covid-19
Embark founders Mark Murphy and Joshua Terrington say they would not be where they are today if it wasn't for Covid-19.
Before the lockdown, Murphy and Terrington were just weeks away from closing their second funding round for an online ticketing platform they had built.
Their idea meant event organisers could plug their ticketing service into a platform, and customers would receive a URL to a webpage that dished out app-like experiences.
But when Covid-19 hit, all events had to stop, and their funding round followed suit.
Murphy and Terrington wanted to do something to help the situation, so they repurposed their technology to become "Like Your Local" - an online platform that enabled any business to engage local support from their community.
"Like Your Local" allowed businesses to check-in customers and generated a unique URL for each business to take their customers to a webpage that showcases ways to support the business.
Since then, the service has seen growing interest from real estate seeking to use the service specifically for running open homes.
"Having a flexible and frictionless open home solution that's contactless first allows agents to run safer open homes and respond quickly to changing public health concerns," Murphy said.
"Also, people are now much more familiar with QR codes and will increasingly expect a slicker and connected customer experience that spans both on and offline worlds."
So Murphy and Terrington created Embark, an online platform that generates landing pages for open homes that showcases all the ways a buyer can take the next step in their sales journey in an incredibly simple way.
Embark generates a unique URL and QR code for the open home to take attendees to their page. Agents can choose from custom action buttons and all they need to do is plug in their most important links, such as referral links, agent social media, website or listing information.
Embark has just launched a private feedback capability and premium options are also on the way, including analytics, deeper social media integration and richer lead profiling.
Agents can sign-up today for a two-week free trial on the website at www.embark.estate
Bay's average property asking prices rise, supply drops
Bay of Plenty's average asking property price was now $775,100, according to the
latest Trade Me Property Price Index.
That was an 11 per cent increase in average asking prices from February 2020 to February 2021.
Trade Me Property sales director Gavin Lloyd said the regional average asking price reached an all-time high of $714,650 in February.
But while nationally year-on-year supply was down 15 per cent, some regions fared even worse.
"The biggest drops in supply were seen in Northland (-35 per cent), Bay of Plenty (-34 per cent) and Nelson/Tasman (-13 per cent).
"This had a direct impact on prices, with all three of these regions seeing average asking
prices increase by at least 10 per cent."
Looking ahead, Lloyd said the Government's recent housing announcement could see prices slow.
"While it's not totally clear yet what impact the Government's housing package will have, we may see some increase in supply as investors rethink their property buying decisions with the bright-line test being extended and an increase in tax costs.
"In saying that, we would have to see a pretty remarkable increase in supply to see any relief in the short term. We expect to see the impact of this new legislation later in the year."
House help for Homes of Hope
Bay of Plenty businesses, including one of the region's largest building companies Classic Builders, have come together to build Homes of Hope a new house.
Classic Builders, local individuals and businesses have gifted a design and build package to Homes of Hope, which provides foster care to abused and/or neglected children.
Homes of Hope chief executive Hilary Price is feeling "stunned" at the community support to build a new $380,000 home.
The home's floor was laid in December on the Greerton site that is already home to three Homes of Hope dwellings – one being an office, and two for the children to live in.
Price said it was the first time the organisation has had a purpose-built house, tailor-made to specifically suit the children's and carers' needs.
"For this to come to fruition is epic and really great timing because of the reality of the needs out there in our community.
"To have a quality home where we can provide excellent care, within our existing community setting, is incredible.
"Having another home also gives us greater flexibility to be rapidly responsive to the needs of the children as they are placed with us. It will certainly help us achieve our goals and mission."
Classic Builders Tauranga regional manager Nathan Watkins said his team was calling the build The Home of Hope and said it was a very special project to be involved in.
He said Classic Builders has presented the initiative to local and national subcontractors and suppliers and the response to provide support and get involved has been quite overwhelming. Thanks to their contribution, the build cost has been significantly reduced.
Classic Builders is not only donating the design and build component but is assisting with the project management and facilitating the consent process.
The four-bedroom home, including two bathrooms, three toilets, and a large kitchen and open plan living area, will enable the housing and care for an additional six children and will be ready to house these special residents by July this year.
A black-tie event is planned for April 10, generously organised by the teams at Cashmores Real Estate and Farmer Autovillage.
The event will be held at Farmer Autovillage and Nigel Latta, one of New Zealand's leading psychologists, will be the guest speaker.
Blair Cashmore will auction off a range of items throughout the night.
A Givealittle page has also been set up.
Koha payments for chiropractic care
A Tauranga chiropractor charging patients a koha rather than set fees is hoping his generosity will make a difference in the health and wellbeing of locals who are suffering financial hardship.
Dr Phillip Bailey opened the doors of his new Bethlehem clinic, Community Chiropractic, earlier this year and leaves the decision on how much to pay entirely up to his patients.
"It's done on an anonymous basis. I have an Eftpos machine, which I show people how to use and it's up to them what dollar amount they choose to put in.
"The total koha payments are merged together at the end of each day, so I never know who has donated what amount."
The unusual business model is based on Bailey's personal belief that regular chiropractic care is an important part of maintaining good health.
"But the reality is most families cannot afford to do that. Standard chiropractic fees are $50 to $60 per appointment, which becomes a financial burden.
"I have seen the positive difference chiropractic and wellness care has on people of all walks of life, and I want to show love and compassion to the community of Tauranga through our koha-based care."
Bailey hoped to encourage other professionals in the Bay to do something similar.
"It doesn't have to be a full-time thing, but people are really struggling financially. Anything people can do to help others in need has got to be a positive thing."
Rotorua's BOP Plumbing and Gas crowned Master Plumber of the Year
A Rotorua-based family-owned business, BOP Plumbing and Gas, has won the New Zealand Master Plumber of the Year Award.
The 2021 New Zealand Plumbing Awards were presented at a gala dinner of the annual New Zealand Plumbing Conference held in Blenheim on Friday night.
The national conference has run for over 100 years.
This award recognises a Master Plumbers member that can clearly demonstrate business acumen, a drive for success and the highest levels of professionalism and service.
Four years ago, BOP Plumbing and Gas moved from being a one-man-band to a staff of five overnight when Aaron and Sarah Jamieson merged their business with Aaron's father's company.
It has grown to a team of 24, with a new branch opening in Kawerau last year, just as New Zealand entered the first Covid-19 lockdown.
During this time, the couple upgraded their fleet, rebranded the business and updated their office systems - from manual to digital - as well as uniforms, business cards and tidy vans.
Master Plumbers Gasfitters and Drainlayers said this showed the company's emphasis on top-quality service-and a 24/7 emergency service.
The company was also acknowledged for being committed to growing its own qualified tradespeople, with a steady flow of apprentices coming through.
Aaron still got out on the tools when he could, which saw his skills passed on to the next generation of plumbers and gasfitters.
With two young boys of their own, the couple placed a strong emphasis on family values in the workplace and always tried to accommodate their staff's needs.
"We want our staff to be proud of the company they work for," Sarah said.
"Reputation is key."