Norman Donald joined the strong Rotorua office of Ray White in December 2013. Coming from his own small boutique real estate business focusing on the Rotorua Lakes,Norman made this shift mainly because of the strength of the Ray White brand. With any real estate business today, profile with multinational connections is so necessary for sourcing potential buyers, as well as gaining listings, so Norman saw this a natural progression with his real estate career.
Norman’s farming background will hold him in good stead with potential vendor’s who wish to discuss the various aspects of farming when considering listing their properties. Norman owned and was responsible for establishing Crater Lake Farm overlooking Lake Tarawera. On this run off as it was when he took it over in 1975, he had to bring power to the property, build 2 houses, put up kilometres of fencing, poured on tonnes of copper, cobalt, sulphur enriched super phosphate, drums of MCPA chemical for eradicating the nodding thistle, built sheep yards and a 4 stand woolshed, cattle yards, and later deer yards and after 2 attempts, an innovative revolving deer shed. He set about continually improving the property over the ensuing 15 years. He purchased a small number of purebred French Limousin cows, and from this base developed a Limousin stud herd. Early on he had made the decision to get into deer farming, and purchased a truck load of hinds from Malcolm Prouting on Mesopotamia Station in the South Island. These arrived late in 1976 in a sorry state as this pioneering move was the first major shipment of deer to cross Cook Strait and transport companies simply did not have the experience with deer. The crossing was rough and the driver called Norman and asked if he could let them out for a run in the Wellington cattle yards………….that would have been the last anyone saw of those deer had that happened! The Crater was deer fenced and 5 Sire stags were purchased with the aid of Harry Bimmler’s tranquilising gun, sitting on the back of the tractor selecting good stags whilst feeding out swedes. Those excellent stags came from the Kaharoa herd of Gordon Branson and it wasn’t long before Crater Lake were producing their own quality deer for one of the foremost deer farms, with Licence # 55.
Norman’s direction changed after coming across Tim Wallis who landed in his helicopter on Crater Lake one day and was looking for properties where he could catch deer on bush boundaries and share the proceeds with the farmers. Having been for a fly with Tim, Norman’s mind was made up very quickly, then a rushed trip to Alaska to buy the necessary machine, and he jumped headlong into aviation with his own Hughes 500c and commercial pilots licence. After 100s of deer captured or shot, the rest is more or less history you could say, and eventually Crater Lake Farm was sold to Taiwanese interests after Norman had successfully marketed his own property abroad.
This marketing exercise was sufficient for him to realise that he had the ability, experience and background to successfully represent a cross section of land owners from farmers to lake property owners. If you look across the real estate industry today there are very few actual farmers who have done the hard yards and can therefore talk the talk from hands on experience, so if you are looking for someone today who has, give Norman a call, and he will be there to meet you and discuss your plans.