By Marianne Kelly
Pauline Abbott is reflecting on the changing times she has witnessed in the south-east real estate market over the past half a century.
On Monday this week she celebrated 50 years working with P&H (Pakuranga & Howick) Realty. She started work in Pakuranga the day decimal currency was introduced to Kiwis.
“I was living in Ellerslie and was working with another real estate company. I thought it would be nice to get a job out this way,” she says.
Just three people worked in the Pakuranga office in those days where she was receptionist – in the iconic hyperbolic paraboloid building established by former Manukau City mayor, the late Sir Lloyd Elsmore, at the fledgling Pakuranga Town Centre.
It was the start of development of suburban Pakuranga. Until then only sections were being sold and some building contracts had been let to companies such as Dempsey Morton and Neil Homes.
After six months, Mrs Abbott says, “we sold our first second-hand house and things went from there”.
In 1992 she became a sales person and for 26 years sold property from the Pakuranga office.
“Those were the days when you could pick up a section for $10,800 right on the water,” she says. “We saw huge growth in that period – it was a changing era.”
During this time Mrs Abbott also assisted the company’s principal Ron Johnson to establish a small rental department.
“The rentals flowed into sales – it was an exciting time for all of us,” she says. “Ron helped me a great deal. His thing was making sure everyone was happy and it flowed through the company.”
Mrs Abbott worked through the multiple listing bureau system when listings were delivered by courier every day.
When computers came in, everything became website-driven and ways of doing business changed.
“I wouldn’t say the market is any better,” she says. “The newer people still have to learn to go back to basics.
“I never had a desire to move on – I always felt very comfortable here.”
Mrs Abbott has worked at the company’s Botany office for the past two years and relinquished her sales person certificate this year.
For the past 18 months she has worked in the company’s trust department.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to have worked with so many fantastic people over 50 years. And I appreciate the fact that Ron and company manager, Marie-Claire [Lamb] have put their faith in me.”
Husband Graham, a retired police officer of 26 years, and Mrs Abbott, bought their first property in Pakuranga in 1978. Now Mrs Abbott is going to join her husband in retirement at their home in rural Patumahoe, although she will still do two-and-a-half days a week in the trust department.