Mangawhai’s natural features and rural lifestyle draw people says Joe Fletcher

Having grown up there himself, it’s obvious why Mangawhai holds a special place in Joe Fletcher’s heart.

Less than a two-hour drive north of Auckland with the opening of the new stretch of a motorway through to Warkworth, it has in recent years become increasingly sought after by lifestylers looking to escape city living and its popularity is only growing.

With rural views from its position at the head of Mangawhai Harbour, 5 kilometers inland from popular surf spot Mangawhai Heads, it’s easy to understand the attraction.

“We’re looking to build a consultancy that offers a start-to-finish product for anyone looking to undertake development.”

Joe Fletcher’s Auckland-based company Horizon Surveying and Land Development had been working with a local planning company for a couple of years before taking the opportunity to buy them out and bring them under his own already well-established umbrella.

All the staff stayed on, and Horizon now has an office in each place with 14 people between them including Joe and his wife Sarah. Enough people and skills to allow them to manage the workload in either place when there’s a deadline to meet or things just get plain busy.

“We’re looking to build a consultancy that offers a start-to-finish product for anyone looking to undertake development. We came into the Mangawhai office in April as a permanent base and our specialty is rural lifestyle subdivision,” says Joe.

It’s Joe’s local knowledge, and that of his staff, combined with their specialist skills and depth of resources which make Horizon an attractive proposition for people keen to see their project get off the drawing board and ‘executed in a timely fashion’ as Joe puts it.

Whether it’s farmers looking to realise some capital or people with larger lifestyle blocks looking for options to reduce their workload or their costs, the Horizon team will walk them through the process every step of the way.

Director Joe Fletcher with his wife Marketing Manager Sarah Fletcher

“We know that development can be pretty daunting and a frustrating process at times so we work closely with our clients to make it as smooth as possible,” says Joe. Together with the landowners, they work with an eye on the land itself.

“We look to protect features such as wetlands or native bush, and where a farm’s productive we look to retain that productive land. We look at ways to develop the more marginal land, which may no longer be appropriate for farming, so that any development positively impacts the environment visually and continues to offer that sense of a rural lifestyle which is why people come here in the first place,” explains Joe.

Alongside their rural lifestyle work, they’re also in the early stages of various urban developments hoping to avoid the sort of ad hoc development that has previously characterized the region’s growth.

“We hope that future development will consider the connectivity of land and the wider environment so that we’re providing for the needs of the wider community as well as providing homes for people to live in,” says Joe.

To this end, they’re submitting on the Kaipara District Plan which will shape the direction of the region for the next 10 years. Putting their local knowledge and specialist feedback into the bigger picture of the region’s ongoing growth and development.

They’d like to see a variety of lifestyles catered for, from the existing rural lifestyle through to medium-density living such as terraced town housing, but developed in such a way that the connection between the land and the coast, as well as access to modern amenities, are thought through.

They believe there’s no need for development to detract from what Mangawhai has to offer but should enhance the natural features that draw people to the region.

© Waterford Press Ltd 2024 – Independent Print Media New Zealand

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