Pro Property

The value of history

When Damon told me that this issue of The Profit was going to feature 150 years of Hastings City and look at some of our longest established business, I thought it appropriate to dig into the Harvey family history, as there has been a long association with the Harvey family providing real estate and property valuation services since they stepped off
the boat in the 1870’s.

In fact, the Harvey family, who originally came from Cornwall were involved in property there too. You could say property is in our DNA. It all started when Elizabeth and Thomas Harvey sailed from Cornwall on the SS Helen Denny from the UK to arrive in Port Ahuriri, Napier on 22 October 1874.

Thomas’s three children, William, and his half siblings Elizabeth and John also made the journey. The two half brothers, William who is my great great grandfather and John Thomas originally bought a horse and coach business from the Crowther family.

However, in 1918 they established their own business known as Harvey Fulton and Hill, Public Accountants and Land Agents. This business originally covered Napier but later expanded to cover Hastings as well. My great great grandfather also a staunch supporter of the preservation of scenic spots in the province, and resolutely fought (though unsuccessfully), for the preservation of Balls Clearing, a bush in the Puketitiri district, and the area known as the Turangakumu Bush on the Napier-Taupo Road.

He was also a strong advocate for the East Coast Railway, and at the same time he was partly instrumental in the determined efforts made to have the Lake Waikaremoana Hydro Electric Power scheme developed. He was a member of the provincial committee that laid the foundation for the establishment of the Hawke’s Bay (HB) Electric Power Board. William, and his wife went on to have four children, of which the two boys, William Thomas (Bill) and Norman also went into the family business of Harvey Fulton and Hill continuing William’s legacy who died in 1945.

From 1932 Bill managed the Hastings office and became the General Manager of Harvey Fulton & Hill in 1965 when he bought his brother Norman out. Norman continued to run a real estate business in Napier until the early seventies, and then he moved to Auckland. So, the now Hastings based business of Harvey Fulton & Hill progressed.

My grandfather Bill Harvey was also a Registered Valuer. Interestingly, back in those days he was registered under the Valuers Act of 1948 when became a registered valuer for good behaviour and ability, no exams required – bit different to the current state of play! Bill was also the Hastings City Valuer and was very involved in the acquisition for the Council (Hastings City Council) of most of the land at Flaxmere.

Consequently, the Hastings City Council developed parts of Flaxmere to the extent of what we know today. My grandfather managed the business right up until his untimely death from cancer in 1971 and then my father, William Jens (Jim) took over the business. Under Jim’s tenure Harvey Fulton & Hill merged with Barry Long Real Estate, and for the first time since its inception Harvey Fulton & Hill had a name change becoming Harvey Fulton & Long being a Real Estate Agents, Valuers and Auctioneers, with the firm’s auction rooms situated in Russell Street in a location that we held from 1932 until the property was sold to become part the Bay Plaza development.

Dad, Jim Harvey was involved in Real Estate and Valuation and was President of the HB Real Estate Institute, Chair of HB branch of the Valuers’ Institute as well as receiving the Government appointment to become a member of the HB Land Valuation Tribunal, a position he held for about twenty-eight years. In 1997 the two branches of the family met up again when Harvey Fulton and Long became part of the Harvey’s Real Estate Group, which was founded by Norman’s son Ross Harvey, continuing the tradition providing both real estate and valuation services. However, in 2006 I bought back the valuation division within the HB franchise and set up Williams’ Harvey as an independent valuation practice. My career has been property focused but diverse giving me broad knowledge of the property industry in New Zealand (NZ).

Starting as a Property Manager at NZ Rail in 1990 I was promoted to be one of their youngest Area Managers until embarking on my OE in 1994. On returning I joined the family business selling residential/commercial real estate. After completing my valuation registration in 2001 I then became the General Manager for Harvey’s Real Estate, Hawke’s Bay and managed four business branches with over 50 staff through setting up Williams’ Harvey Registered Valuers.

In honour of my forebearers, who have all named their first-born sons William (known to their peers by their second name) and since William Harvey founded the first business four Williams’ have been valuing property or selling property in the region since 1918, hence the company’s current name Williams’ Harvey.

I am proud of the team, the business and the fact that I am the fourth generation Harvey involved in a business that started over 100 years ago.