Ben and Nola Kloppers.
RE/MAX Realty Group is based in the Warkworth town centre, and is a franchise of the largest real estate company in the world, now in over 100 countries and with 105,000 agents working under the RE/MAX banner.
How do you choose which charitable groups, not-for-profits, or schools in the community to support?
We’ve never turned anyone down – if we are able to help and can fit it in, we will. Under the RE/MAX banner, we also support Variety – The Children’s Charity who help and support underprivileged and disadvantaged Kiwi kids.
What form does your support take?
Nola and Ben have now been involved in over 60 fund raising events over the past 14 years and have been part of raising a phenomenal amount of money for the area. People do ask us why we are so driven in helping all the various organisations, and it all goes back to when we had to leave Zimbabwe and moved to New Zealand, which was one of a few options. Nola had been to New Zealand in 1992 to play polocrosse and loved the New Zealand people. It was for this reason that we chose to move to New Zealand as we felt that it was very similar to the friendly small country that we had left behind.
New Zealand has very tough rules when trying to immigrate here, but after some perseverance, we finally gained residency, and later on our New Zealand citizenship – a very proud moment for us. It was during these early years that we decided that if we were granted the opportunity to start a new life in New Zealand that we would do our very best to help out the community that we lived in, in anyway possible, to repay the people of New Zealand for this opportunity that we had been granted, being able to start a safe, new life here with our children.
We have been involved in four fundraisers since we opened our doors in mid-January 2016 under the RE/MAX banner, and in this very short period we have assisted in raising just over $28,000 with another fundraiser planned for on July 15.
Is there a special moment you can share that highlights the importance of being a sponsor?
A few years ago, one of our fundraising efforts had a very personal connection – one of our good friends was badly injured in a tragic flying fox accident which involved her in breaking her back and left her paralysed. Together, with others in the community, we held a dinner and auction evening that raised $20,000 to help her and her family – a very emotional experience.
Do you get many requests for support and do you have to turn many down?
Yes, we do get asked for support on many occasions, and as mentioned we will help out as much as we possibly can, however, I must say that the community that we live in is unbelievable. Our support is time consuming and involved on the evenings of the fundraiser, but we have to acknowledge the local businesses who tirelessly give items for these functions. We have been involved in so many of these now, and it always amazes us how giving these businesses are, and we should all thank them when we are in their shops or pass by.
How many people do you employ locally?
We currently have four staff, plus ourselves.
Are you confident about doing business in your town?
Yes – we are driven to help people and we are not just ‘another’ real estate agency. We’ll keep doing what we’ve been doing for our clientele, and we’ll keep putting back into the community as much as we can.
The local real estate market has changed considerably over the past 14 years, from being a quiet tranquil area and considered to be too far out of Auckland, to today where Warkworth and Wellsford are now considered to be part of Auckland and are also included in the Supercity. With this change in the public’s perception, and that we are now just over an hour north of the Auckland Harbour Bridge, our customers have changed considerably too, so we’ve adapted along the way.
Do you think it’s important for locals to ‘shop locally’ and do you use/support local businesses for your products and services?
We do believe that this is vital for everyone to shop locally. Our local businesses give so much to the community and we believe it is imperative that we offer them the support in return. We use the local businesses as much as possible and find them very helpful and friendly at all times.