Takanini turf-side at national womens hockey tournament

HockeyMike Hook from Ray White Takanini took some time out turf-side recently – coaching and supporting the Counties Senior Women’s Hockey team at the Senior New Zealand Hockey tournament.  Run by New Zealand Hockey and hosted at the North Harbour Hockey stadium this national event was held from 7-12 September and saw 28 teams (approximately 448 competitors) support staff and spectators attending over the six days.

Passionate hockey player Mike Hook, a salesperson with Ray White Takanini, has played hockey himself since the age of 13 and started coaching whilst at Lincoln Universityon a hockey sports scholarship.  He now regularly coaches.

“Despite the girls defeat, the highlight from the event was definitely the first game where the girls were able to win against North Harbour who were the defending champs and had a huge reputation.” explains Mike.  ”The Counties girls had not all played together before and didn’t have the best lead up to the event,  never having actually had the chance chance of training together, but despite this the girls put in a tremendous effort!”

When asked about how he manages the balance between hockey and his real estate career Mike admits it can be hard at times but says “I think it is a good way to refresh, recharge and also provides a wonderful opportunity to expand my horizons and promote my own brand at the same time as taking part and serving my community” he says.  ”There are many parallels between high performance sport and a career like real estate. They both require discipline, desire and ultimately is process driven not result driven so if the process is done correctly then the result takes care of itself.”

“The girls still had a great time at the tournament, they were disappointed with the result but still had moments of great hockey, … at the end of the day being able to encourage the girls to play their best and sharing my knowledge” is what it all comes down to.  Ray White were well represented on the field as well with Anil Nathoo from Ray White Glenfield playing on the Counties Mens team – who came 3rd winning the bronze medal.

Manukau Cook up Kiwiana classics for kids at Ronald McDonald House


The Ray White Manuka Team recently cooked up a classic Kiwiana barbecue for the families staying at Ronald McDonald House in Auckland.

“I saw the opportunity to volunteer to cook for the families as I am currently fundraising for Ronald McDonald House by running the Queenstown marathon and thought it would be a great way for the team to come together in a unique way and learn about the House” says  Hannah Cleary from Ray White Manukau.

“Both my brother and I were Starship babies and my mum had to spend a significant amount of time at the Starship Hospital and the house facility they had back then. To see the facility today and what they are able to offer these families shows how much progress has been made and the support from New Zealander’s for such a great cause” says Hannah Cleary. ”We did this purely with the aim of putting the families first and going out of our ways to ensure that we make their lives just that little bit easier. Naturally, it takes team-work to have the event come together and without each individual working together in sync would never get off the ground, so the team building factor is really just an added-bonus for us.” she adds.

Ronald McDonald House’s primary purpose is to support families on their time of need by providing practical and emotional support.  With three houses across New Zealand Ronald McDonald Houses help keep families together – because families are stronger when they are together.

“There is no feeling like being able to help take a load off families that are under intense stress; it is a mix of realisation of how fortunate we are, and how much we have to be grateful for. The feeling of knowing that you gesture may only be a small part in the matrix but is extremely cherished by the families is indescribable. ” says Adam Thompson from Ray White Manukau.

Ray White Manukau regularly sponsor projects in their community – such as the New Zealand Fire Brigade Touch Tournament. the Radio Networks ‘Special Children’s Christmas Party’, and have also provided books for Puhinui Primary School.  Although this was their first time cooking at Ronald McDonald House it certainly won’t be the last - with all team members keen to make it an annual event.

Ray White New Zealand have supported Ronald McDonald Houses since 2007 – helping to keep families together, and this year also stepped up their support of the charity by offering individual salesperson support partnership initiatives in addition to the long established office partnership opportunities.  ”It is always humbling to see members step up as individuals and gather their teams to support this important charity” says Graeme Fraser, Ray White New Zealand Auckland Performance Manager.

Ray White acknowledged as one of New Zealand’s most trusted brands


Ray White New Zealand, for the second year running, has been recognised in the Readers Digest Most Trusted Brand Awards for 2014 as Highly Commended in the real estate agents category.

This is the 12th Most Trusted Brands survey and it provides an insight into which brands the New Zealand public trust and why. Being one of the featured brands and being recognised by the Readers Digest Trusted Brands in New Zealand for 2014 is one of the most important and essential qualities in business, which is trust.

As part of the Ray White New Zealand Strategy, our members understand that the integrity of our decisions and the way that we build trust is through collective strength. Our endeavours as a company to continue to provide service at an outstanding level drives the relationships between our members and the clients and customers that we serve. We see trust as being one of the most important elements in respect to choice and, in more recent times, our company has introduced the customer satisfaction programme which allows feedback by clients and customers on the service that we provide. This assists us in understanding the way we go about offering services and being able to connect our members with our clients and customers, primarily through trust based relationships.

Carey Smith, Chief Executive of Ray White New Zealand, said “Being acknowledged as one of the trusted brands in New Zealand is not only a continued ambition for our company but allows us to strive for better outcomes for our clients, which range across all of our services including residential, commercial, rural and property management. Our Group understand that trust is an experience and we have aligned the success of our New Zealand Strategy directly to connect with trust and we are proud to have been selected as one of the Trusted Brands again in 2014.”

The Ray White Group sell over 1,000 properties per month and manage over 15,000 properties in their property management portfolio. The Group has 142 offices, with 1,365 salespeople, over 300 property managers and administration staff.

For more information on the Ray White Group please see raywhite.co.nz

Oceanview Heights School swim with Ray White



Michelle Greer, franchise owner of Ray White Timaru, recently sponsored the Oceanview Heights School with swim bags, skipping ropes, pens and balloons; enabling close to 90 school children to be able to have their sports gear stored in one place and easily identifiable when they travel to the local pool in Timaru. Seen here at the school assembly, the children were very appreciative of the offering by Michelle and the team at Ray White Timaru.

Office manager at Oceanview Heights School, Christine Welsh, said “Local businesses contributing to our school children plays an important role in their development, socialisation and commitment to our school and the activities we provide. It is also great our children can identify together and they were very excited when receiving these gifts from Ray White.”

Michelle Greer said that seeing the smile on the childrens faces is a reflection of the opportunity the school has given us to provide these small gifts to the children. “We hope to be able to continue to support the children of our local community and it makes us proud that we can help out, even in a small way, with the children’s needs at Oceanview Heights School.”


Ray White plant natives on North Shore


Early on Saturday morning Ray White North Shore joined forces with over 100 members of the community to plant native trees at Upper Eskdale Reserve in Glenfield.

The community planting event was organised by new community partner Kaipatiki Project Environment Centre and Kaipatiki Community Facilities Trust to restore and enhance the bush perimeter of the Eskdale Cemetery. Native plants were planted on the fringes of the bush to protect the cemetery from encroaching weeds and provide some protection from the wind. Mulch was then added to help the young plants get started and to suppress weed growth.

The Ray White volunteers encountered slippery conditions but came fully prepared, and took to the task enthusiastically before cleaning up and heading off to their open homes.

Kaipatiki Project works to create a totally sustainable Auckland – connecting people to the environment, and each other, where they can take action to make a difference. The Ray White North Shore offices are proudly supporting the project and are looking forward to taking part in more events to further extend their support the Trust. “There is something very satisfying about planting a tree en masse with others… No matter what the weather conditions, it is nice to work side by side on a project such as this… It makes you feel like something is being achieved.” says James Widjaja from Ray White Albany.

Sarah Pearce, Growth and Relationship Executive for Ray White New Zealand said she has been inspired by the North Shore team members who turned out on the day.  ”The members, representing nine offices on Auckland’s North Shore, gave it their all… and had a great time as well!… Businesses, churches, guide and scout groups and local families all came together through the simple act of tree-planting.  It is a great way of giving-back, caring for the natural environment and building strong communities.

Each year over 8,000 volunteer hours are contributed to the organisation by hundreds of volunteers including individuals, community groups and corporate team-building days who grow 20 – 30,000 native plants from locally sourced seeds. The plants are then planted back into local reserves by members of the community during each winter planting season.

Kaipatiki Project is a registered charity and an independent non-profit, and through a recent initiative the Ray White North Shore team will be working with them as they becoming more socially enterprising and progressive.

Keep an eye on the Kaipatiki Project website for further details, or ask your local Ray White North Shore Office about getting involved.

Photos: Philip Moll

Ray White New Zealand August sales remain consistent

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The Ray White Group across New Zealand completed 986 sales at an average sale price of $457,947 and listed 1,597 controlled properties with an average listing price of $523,757. The results for the Group were 3% ahead of our sales turnover in August 2013 but were lower than last month in July by just over 20%.

Individually our leading businesses were a good spread across many of the markets in New Zealand and while the top three offices featured our Central Auckland businesses, being Ray White City Apartments, Ray White Ponsonby and Ray White Remuera; there were three businesses in Christchurch, being Ray White Metro, Ray White Next Step and Ray White Unlimited, that also were top 10 turnover offices. Ray White Manukau came in at number five with a personal best in respect of their sales volume.

Carey Smith, Chief Executive of Ray White New Zealand, said “The August results in isolation were not as good as July due to the level of stock that was available over the past month. However, the increased levels of property we expect to come to the market throughout September, which will be aligned to our marketing campaign, will drive further interest in the market and will add to the turnover results for the company.” He went on to say the company has grown with a further three offices opening; two of those being in Auckland with Ray White Mangere Bridge and Ray White Epsom. The Group has also welcomed a new office in Russell which has rebranded from another company.

Ray White Beach Haven step up their support of North Shore community

BeachhavenActive supporters of the North Shore community, and riding off the success of their recent Bingo night fundraiser which saw the team helping to raise over $6,000 for Beach Haven Primary School, Ray White Beach Haven are looking forward to the schools next fundraising event: the Art, Craft and Kai Fair in early September – and are also getting ready for the next round of their own Barefoot Bowls tournament.

Beach Haven Primary School is a multicultural school that encourages and promotes community involvement. Their belief that children’s education reaches its full potential when parents, communities and schools work together is fully supported by the team at Ray White Beach Haven.  - Glenn’s Ray White Beach Haven office were principal sponsors of the school’s recent Bingo night – with a table of 12 team members also competing.   ”There were a large amount of prizes donated by local business’ and Tim Obern once again generously provided his services as a charity auctioneer… He was in fine form perhaps having more fun with it than he is able to normally.” says Glenn Carpenter of Ray White Beach Haven. ”The school raised close to $6,000 and we are looking forward to sponsoring more events to help the school with its fundraising” adds Glenn – a long-standing resident of the North Shore Community – having grown up in the area as a child, and having worked there now since 1996.

Proud members of the Ray White North Shore zone, Ray White Beach Haven are actively involved in the community through their support of various school initiatives (including a Kids Movie Night at the school – where a popcorn machine proved quite a hit with the kids and 150 plus people).  The teams next school event, the Beach Haven Primary Art, Craft and Kai Fair, is coming up on Thursday 18 September.  

“Community spirit is alive and well here in Beach Haven and you will enjoy the feeling of security and belonging that goes hand in hand with getting to know your neighbours.” says Glenn Carpenter, Principal of Ray White Beach Haven (pictured above).  Glenn, who is also a part of the Beach Haven Birkdale Residents’ Association and a Patron of the Beach Haven Bowling Club, also hosts the ’Ray White Beach Haven Barefoot Bowls’ – an annual event to raise awareness and funds for the bowling club within the ‘Celebrate Beach Haven Month’.   Glenn’s latest video “Why we love Beach Haven” which is proudly displayed on the Beach Have office website hightlights the uniqueness of the North Shore and Beach Haven areas, and has been well received in the area.

Sarah Pearce, Growth and Performance Executive for Ray White New Zealand who is working closely with the nine offices on the North Shore says she is “proud of Glenn and his team on the shore who always step up in support of their local community.  From their House of Dreams project in support of Beach Haven Plunket – through to their support of the primary school and bowling club, it is inspiring to see business owners such as Glenn not only invest in their local communities but get actively involved… At the end of the day – it is clear to see why Glenn and his team are so passionate about the North Shore area and promoting it!”

Matthew Smith’s personal journey on foot across New Zealand

Matthew-Smith2Ray White Waiheke Island Business Owner, Matthew Smith is currently tackling a personal journey – walking more than 1,500 kilometres across New Zealand.

Currently walking through Taihape – Matthew began his journey on 10 August when he left Auckland on his journey toward Queenstown.  Originally aiming to walk 50km per day he has had to reconsider this target after blisters starting forming on his feet by Manukau.

The 41-year-old principal of Ray White Waiheke  has set himself the challenge of losing “10-20kg of bad habits” as he puts it when explaining the reasons behind his walk and  personal weight-loss journey.  It was “hardly noticeable at first but it reached the stage where my clothes didn’t fit and friends started making comments.” 

I am motivated more by positive things than negative” says Matthew – who sees the eye opening journey on foot and positive insights into New Zealand towns and culture as more beneficial that watching himself work out in a mirror at the local gym – which he calls “demotivating”.  Although no initial training was undertaken prior to embarking on the journey, Matthew did manage to lose close to 10kg before he started his walk – simply by cutting out milk and sugar and reducing his calorie intake.  In addition to this he hopes to lose an additional 12kg on the journey.  Matthew, who underwent surgery after shattering a heel bone a few years ago, still suffers pain and is due for further surgery on his heel, but “the pain and discomfort will not stop me” he says… “If I had waited for everything to be perfect, I would never have started this walk!”

Matthew is carrying out the walk alone and only has a rough idea of where he will stay each night.  With no support crew alongside him on the road, Smith is documenting his journey on Facebook and says he gets up to five friend requests a day from people keen to watch his progress.  ”The support has been overwhelming!” says Matthew.  

“The whole experience so far has blown me away… I knew it was going to be exciting, but not as exciting as it has been.  What I have learned about the good Kiwi culture and all the different areas and how all the people are trying to lead a good life … it’s been an incredible experience meeting so many good Kiwis.”

Smith, who lived in Queenstown before moving to Waiheke Island where he has now been based for over 19 years says ”I am enjoying seeing different parts of New Zealand. I want to stay longer everywhere overnight. I have to find the balance between stopping to enjoy it and still keeping moving.”

The Desert Road still stands ahead for Matthew, and appears to be his biggest challenge so far.  He plans to tackle the 63km strip of road in one day – with an early morning start.   “I will keep going no matter how bad the blisters are, I will keep trucking on. I have bought a locator beacon with me for the Desert Road and will use it if I have to.”

 When asked about the effect his time away may have on his team and his business he is proud to say, that with the assistance of technology has never been more accessible to his staff and customers – and talks on the phone daily – managing his business remotely and while on foot.  As the principal of a growing business Matthew is proud to empower his staff to step up, earn respect and lead by example.

All going well Matthew is hoping to reach Queenstown by early-to-mid-October – and will no doubt celebrate with a well earned rest.

Go to tinyurl.com/MatthewSmithFB to follow Matthew’s journey.

- View his story as published recently on Stuff.co.nz - here
- Listen to Matthew’s recent Radio National New Zealand Interview with Simon Mercep - here

Ray White embrace the elements at Tutukaka Winter Festival


Ray White Tutukaka couldn’t help but jump at the chance to sponsor an event in this years Tutukaka Coast Winter Festival.

Running from the 15 – 31 August this annual event is designed to attract people to Northland’s beautiful Tutukaka Coast  during what is historically a quiet period for the area.  The multi-faceted festival runs across the last two weeks of August (with events targeted around the three weekends), and is now in its second year.

Rated as one of the top coastal destinations on the planet by National Geographic Traveler Magazine, the Tutukaka Coast is home to about 1,500 locals and was recently voted one of the ‘Top Ten Must-Do’s in New Zealand’.  A summer destination for many with pristine white sand beaches, stunning coastal bush walks, and the incredible Poor Knights Marine Reserve the areas is certainly a favourite with locals and tourists alike.  The Tutukaka Coast Winter Festival festival creates a variety of reasons for people to visit the region – enjoy the restaurants and bars and participate in activities and provide benefit too to local service providers.  Longstanding members of the community the Ray White Tutukaka team, whose office is situated on the foreshore, have been a part of the local community now for over eight years and regularly support events in the area.

Ray White Tutukaka secured naming rights to the raft race which was launched at his years festival now known as the Ray White Raft Race – which saw over 20 teams compete in hand-made rafts (which could be constructed from any material other than existing watercraft and/or flotation devices).  Competitors tackled the course in either business or open class categories from the boat ramp – finishing up at the Ray White Tutukaka office for prizegiving – with the winners in each category taking home a $500 cheque – and others receiving various spot prizes.  Other events at the festival include a stand-up paddle board race, dragonboat regatta, fishing competition, movie nights and a comedy festival.

Peter Vink, Ray White Tutukaka Office Manager and local salesperson says “the overall objective is to continue this annual event to increase in scope year on year and become a serious contender on the national festival calendar.  We love the area and always enjoy sharing and celebrating it with others… We had a great time building our rather questionably designed raft - which almost sank at the starting line –  to the entertainment of many bystanders.”  Peter was joined in his raft by fellow office members: Chris Windust, Alan Dowsett and Raewyn McKay.

John Monteith, Co-Director of Ray White Allens (which encompasses the Ray White Whangarei, Tutukaka and Bream Bay offices) was “blown away by the enthusiasm and level of support the Ray White Raft Race had in the community.  The effort people went to with their costumes and raft building and design was inspiring to see”.  He adds that he hoped the event will continue to strengthen the local community and rise to the levels of Russell’s Birdman Festival and the Queenstown Winter-Festival.

The Ray White duck is making a splash in new social media campaign

DuckOur new Ray White Lighthouse office have launched a quirky little campaign that is quickly taking flight out on East Auckland’s Pohutukawa Coast.   Their weekly duck hunt, a social media campaign, launched by the team on 1 August has seen traffic to the Ray White Lighthouse Facebook Page grow substantially in the first few weeks alone.

Each Friday the team release a weekly clue on their Facebook Page as to their Ray White yellow duck’s whereabouts – enabling local school kids and families to then go on a weekend duck hunt with the first family finding the duck (and returning it to the Ray White Lighthouse office) receiving ice-creams from local business Pepperjacks Restaurant, Cafe & Bar.  

The idea, thought up by the Ray White Lighthouse team, has since become a collective effort with clues and ideas being enthusiastically written and submitted now by not only team members, but also partners, friends and family.  ”We are having a great time with the campaign, and get a kick out of writing and brainstorming the rhymes and riddles” says Karin Gillson from Ray White Lighthouse.

Their first week’s clue: Our Ray White Duck is lost somewhere in Pine Harbour Marina! Find him & post a pic of yourself in the location on our page to win! Return the Duck to our office & we’ll reward you with ice-creams for 4 at Pepperjacks Restaurant, Cafe & Bar! – Here’s a clue to get you started… “in Latin ‘Ros Marinus’ – meaning Dew of the Sea, scratch around in the undergrowth and you’ll be sure to find me!” Was then followed up with the additional clue – sent by private message to those who ‘liked’ and shared the post online: Time to put your culinary skills to the test..Roast duck wouldn’t work with this, lamb would be best…  The Ray White duck was later found hidden in a rosemary bush right outside the Ray White Lighthouse office in the marina. – The above photo of week one’s winner with the duck was extremely popular in the local community!

Keith Ashkettle, Ray White New Zealand Head of Technology says “online engagement is showing increased benefits to local businesses and indeed our own Ray White offices – whether it be engaging people socially or via targeted advertising through social platforms.  We have seen offices use social media to increase traffic to their own websites and indeed listings – and have seen enquiry rise as a direct result of such campaigns… We certainly commend our offices who continue to learn about, and engage in, this medium.”

Ray White Lighthouse‘s dedicated Facebook campaign has seen the team grow their online audience by approximately 23% (in terms of total page likes) – with the reach of their posts jumping dramatically and recent posts to their page now performing on average 95% better than previous posts by the team. Ray White Lighthouse have also just started advertising the promotion in their local Pohutukawa Coast Times lift-out with the aim of directing traffic to their page and increasing their online audience. “After just the first week, where a young girl from a local school found the duck , our audience grew substantially – as the girl had managed to engage and excite a large number of kids at her school – who were all then looking forward to the next weeks’ clue so that they too could take part” says Rex Bignell, of Ray White Lighthouse  ”We have long been a part of the Pohutakawa Coast Community, and it really is rewarding to see little campaigns such as this yielding such enthusiasm and support from locals.”

To date the team have only one resident, and much loved, Ray White duck – but with the weekly duck hunt’s popularity growing, and with no end in sight, the team may just have to invest in a body-double duck (just in case).

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