Jason Eves on Returning Home and Continuing the Family Real Estate Legacy in Tauranga
Growing up as the son of Max Eves – the founder of leading Tauranga residential agency, Eves Realty Ltd – you could say the property was in Jason Eves‘s blood.
However, it wasn’t until he had experienced two OEs, trained as a vet, and worked on luxury superyachts that he even considered entering the field himself. Jason, who has spent the last ten years in property development in Canada and America, returned home to Tauranga in September 2017 with his wife and daughter. His extensive overseas experience has shaped both his professional and personal life.
After so many years away, moving home wasn’t without its challenges, but despite having lived in some of the world’s most enviable locations, Jason feels privileged to be back in his hometown.
The Eves are enjoying settling into life in Tauranga where Jason has taken on a role as a licensed salesperson at Bayleys Real Estate. Here’s his story of returning to his roots and continuing the family Real Estate legacy.
Jason, what first took you overseas?
In the mid-nineties, I headed overseas for my first OE which spanned just over five years and resulted in a variety of experiences. I then returned to Auckland and pursued a career in sales management in the pharmaceutical industry, which is where I met my wife, Abigail.
The cost of living was high in Auckland even then and we had little time or money after our mortgage was paid to pursue interests or travel so we headed back overseas and ended up working in the luxury yachting industry for just over a year.
How did you end up working in real estate?
After the yachting experience, we moved to Canada where I become the general manager of JI Properties tasked with managing the development of a private island. Abigail took on the management of the guest services side of this developing resort. We moved with the same employer to Santa Barbara, California where I expanded my property and asset responsibilities, stepping into the role of director of operations of COM Investments.
My ending up in real estate was probably not surprising to many given my father’s 50 years in the business!
How did you know it was time to come home?
When we hit the ten-year mark we both felt that it was time to think about returning to our home shores. We have a three-year-old daughter and we were missing the family support and connections back in New Zealand. We want our daughter to be able to enjoy the New Zealand lifestyle we both had and for her to grow up as part of our close-knit family. Her grandparents and great-grandparents live in Tauranga with her other grandparents and aunts, uncles, and cousins further south. This time in her childhood is so fleeting that we wanted to be able to share these precious moments with our family.
Tell us about your real estate role in Tauranga.
I am a licensed salesperson at Bayleys Tauranga, specializing in residential property. It’s an immensely rewarding role in helping people navigate buying and selling real estate to achieve their property goals. I help families transition through different life stages, matching properties and homes to their changing lifestyles. Climbing the property ladder is perhaps one of the greatest rewards for the hard work people do every day and it’s great to be a part of that achievement.
As a returned expat myself, I also enjoy being able to help newly returning Kiwis and Tauranga newcomers deal with one of the most daunting elements of any move: finding, choosing, and settling into a new home.
Eves and Bayleys are both owned by Realty Services Holdings Ltd. Bayleys has become a brand synonymous with the upper end of the market and unique homes are where my passion for real estate, as well as my experience in property, lies so Bayleys was the right fit.
We work closely with Eves across all levels of the market and this synergy is incredibly effective for our buyers and sellers in achieving the best possible outcomes.
What have you found exciting about returning to the New Zealand workforce?
The enthusiasm I have for utilizing new approaches, standards, or ideas from markets that ultimately lead our own, and having the opportunity to be amongst the first to offer these to Kiwis.
Even after having lived overseas, being able to return home has always felt like a privilege. This was reinforced to us during our final weeks in America when many southern Californians – and these are residents of arguably the most desirable region in the USA – said that living in New Zealand would be a dream come true.
We can now say with some authority that New Zealand has some of the most amazing coastline, best beaches, and most accessible outdoor lifestyle in the world. Our growing cities, Wellington and Auckland, now offer a real cosmopolitan experience with dining, entertainment, arts, and sporting opportunities comparable to other countries.
Did you have any concerns about returning home?
Our one reservation prior to returning home was employment and career opportunities. My last ten years of professional experience had seen me closely involved with not only the planning and development of real estate but also its buying and selling; I had become passionate about it and I was concerned that the same professional opportunities wouldn’t exist back home.
But once I had a clear vision of what I wanted to do, the opportunities and potential New Zealand offered became quickly apparent. While the small population size does limit some enterprises it also enables change and opportunity in a way that can’t be appreciated until you try to achieve something in a larger bureaucracy like the United States.
What vision did you have for your life back home in New Zealand?
I wanted a meaningful busy but rewarding career that enabled some to control my own hours and income so that we could afford to make time for family adventures in New Zealand and abroad.
We envisaged spending more time with family during holidays, celebrations, and unscheduled visits. We wanted to maintain our experiential lifestyle mentality, limit our consumption and live as greenly as we had become accustomed to in California. We wanted to create a home that was ours and settle in an area, develop a meaningful network and become part of the community.
Why did you choose to settle in Tauranga?
Once we had decided that we wanted to return to New Zealand, it was not much of a challenge to decide where. We have family in Auckland, Wellington, and Tauranga, but can Tauranga really be bested with regards to the lifestyle? Tauranga is New Zealand’s southern California! Particularly when a young family is considered, Tauranga shelters one from the trials and tribulations of raising children in a more hectic big city scenario while providing a good portion of their opportunities and amenities.
How has Tauranga changed from the city you grew up in?
I am surprised by how much the city has grown with respect to residential sprawl and traffic volumes in the time we were away. At the same time, I’m surprised by how little has really changed, it still feels like a small community with a few degrees of separation between almost everyone you reconnect with or meet.
The harbour and port have become much busier and when I was young you left the city and entered the country as you climbed the hill towards Bethlehem…not so anymore!
Downtown Tauranga has deteriorated from the busy and inviting shopping centre that it once was, although I know a lot of thought and focus is being put into improving the area to meet its locational potential: with its harbourfront setting, it could and should be a world-class destination.
The Mount has become much more sophisticated than it was which reinforces the quality of that piece of coastline as both a holiday destination and a residential lifestyle area. Anyone that has traveled extensively will realize that as far as open ocean beaches go, the Mount is up there with the very best of them.
How would you describe the business community in Tauranga?
The business community has definitely grown as evidenced by the expansion of the commercial and industrial areas in Tauranga and the Mount and by the new high-rise office buildings burgeoning with suit-clad professionals that we see along Cameron Road and in the CBD with more to come. There is definitely a younger vibe around these developments and a more cosmopolitan buzz associated with them.
What are some of the challenges of returning to your hometown after years overseas?
Tauranga can be a bit cliquey. It is a relatively small community and as such, it is socially close-knit which makes it a little difficult (even as a born and bred Tauranga boy) to fit back in socially without some effort, however, the rewards make that effort worthwhile!
Luckily, we have had several groups of old friends return to Tauranga before us, who have helped introduce us to new people, and having family nearby has also made settling into life in Tauranga easier for us.
Getting back into a career helps as does joining sports and social groups, which we are just starting to get back into. There are many expats around and it has been supportive to understand that the changes and concerns we have are commonplace but without permanency.
How has your family settled into Tauranga?
Our daughter, Harper, is three and we are grateful to be in a position (although not without sacrifice) where Abigail can stay home to spend time with her and focus on her development until she starts school. They enjoy a lot of different mother-daughter activities.
Abigail has enjoyed several different careers and is both talented and ambitious and is considering a number of different options for her future. For the time being, we continue to work as a business team, as we have done for the last ten years, and she has been an invaluable asset in achieving what I wanted to establish in my start with Bayleys.
What do you do for fun here?
We love all water sports and our favourite activity is exploring the coast by boat, finding new and quiet locations to anchor, explore, relax and eat. We have a small sailboat in the Tauranga Bridge Marina which I brought back to NZ from overseas. Its humble camping-style accommodation is more than adequate for a weekend, or even for a couple of weeks in summer, away with the family and other boating friends.
Connecting with new friends and reconnecting with old friends is a huge part of creating a fun and memorable experience here in Tauranga. As a family, we look forward to immersing ourselves in the local culture and discovering everything the Bay has to offer.
Gets You Thinking Doesn’t It?
No one can tell you when you’re ready for a change of lifestyle…but when you are, we’d love to have you in Tauranga!
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