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Last week Peter Best celebrated his 25th anniversary of office ownership at an exclusive event at a private residence.

Peter joined the real estate industry at an interesting time back in 1987, just prior to the share market crash. After a 20 year career in the automotive parts industry in Australia and New Zealand, Peter joined Beltons in July 1987 as General Manager of their 26 office real estate operation. Beltons had been acquired by United Bank to expand their New Zealand realty operations (United Realty). In the early 1990’s United Bank got into financial difficulties and was sold, with all subsidiary companies including the realty operations being put up for sale. Peter’s job came to an abrupt end; however, he got the opportunity to purchase the United Realty Kohimarama franchise in September 1991.

In 1993, Ray White purchased United Realty. As a company they were not well known in New Zealand, being a predominantly Queensland and New South Wales based business. A number of Ray White executives came across to support and run the New Zealand operations – including Stephen Nell, Peter Camphin and Tony Warland. All of whom are now CEO’s of Australian state operations for the Ray White Group.


In 1996 Carey Smith arrived in New Zealand and was later appointed New Zealand’s Chief Executive, a position he holds to this day.

Peter says, “Carey has been an inspiration to us all over the years and the New Zealand operation has grown from some 58 offices to 147 today and that is soon to go over 160 with the Leaders Property Group coming on board.”

Early on the company name was changed from United Realty to Ray White United and then to Ray White in 1999. “I am proud to have been a Ray White Founding Member in New Zealand and to witness the changes and developments in the group.” Peter said.

Peter was never a real estate salesperson, although qualified, but has grown his business significantly and increased his industry knowledge over the past 25 years. Peter’s  business is well recognized within the local community, contributing to a lot of community sponsorship, namely with local schools and sporting clubs together being a big supporter of Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Early in 2008 Peter sold a half share in the business to John Halstead. Peter said his decision was based on “the need to grow the business further and to give me some more quality time. Since 2008 we have relocated the Kohimarama office and opened our flagship St Heliers Bay office which has its own auction room, separate property management facility and enhanced digital technology systems.”

The Ray White Kohimarama / St Heliers sales team are all locals and many have been with Peter and now John Halstead for over 15 years. Their team is in some ways like their family, with the longest serving, Pauline Brown, completes 20 years’ service next year. The property management department has experienced staff and the manager, Tamara Willis, has  been with the team for over 12 years. The administrative team are all experienced and a valuable asset to the business. Much of the team’s business comes from repeat and referral business.

Peter shared with us that he “found running my own business could be pretty lonely, but having loyal staff and being part of a big and reputable group has given me the opportunity to make some very good friends and contacts, not only in New Zealand but internationally. The past 23 years under Ray White have been amazing. I have witnessed the business going from being a good real estate business to a great business.”


Peter adds, “the thing that has impressed me most has been the family ownership, the involvement of the various generations of the White Family in the business and the trust they have built. There have been many memorable occasions, including many New Zealand conferences, the first International Conference at the Sheraton Mirage in 1994, the Centenary Conference at The Pines on the Gold Coast in 2002, the visit to Crows Nest to see where Ray White was founded, Alan White’s Memorial Service plus the annual awards events and annual Business Owners Symposiums.”

Peter has lived in the St Heliers / Kohimarama area since he arrived in New Zealand. Peter says, “I love the local area. Walking along the Tamaki Drive waterfront on a lovely day is special.” Peter laughs as he adds “I must confess I have been a bit of a workaholic, but do try to  play golf occasionally.  It is a game I took up in my school years when I was a caddie at Royal Melbourne Golf Club and golf became a passion.”

Carey Smith, Chief Executive of Ray White New Zealand said, “An outstanding milestone for Peter; he has been a tremendous influence over the last 25 years within the Ray White New Zealand Group. During this time he has been awarded my CEO Cup in the late 1990’s and served as one of our national zone chairperson for an extended period of time. Peter’s focus, loyalty, and leadership are second to none, which has lead to the success of his business being high performers and leaders in their own right. Congratulations to Peter on the last 25 years, a wonderful achievement – thank you.”


Ray White Kohimarama is located at 5 Averill Avenue, Kohimarama, pop in and see them or visit their local office website

Written by Ray White New Zealand

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