Growing up on a mixed farm in North Canterbury, Austen began a long association with the region and its rural communities. While a contracting and operational management role in the forestry industry was his primary employment, at the same time he owned and operated a small sheep and crop farm until he sold this and he moved his family to Christchurch in 2005 to pursue a new position, based in Darfield.
This position gave Austen the opportunity to utilise his combined experience in forestry and farming in a new role as Operations Manager of the land conversion program for the Selwyn Plantation Board Ltd, (at the time, the largest project of this type being undertaken in the South Island). The successes of this project lead to other senior management positions within the company and through a time of transition, his appointment as Chief Executive in 2008. At this time, the company while still retaining its core forestry base had also moved into large scale farming and other property development projects on the recently converted land areas. A decision by the owners to sell the company followed in 2010 and Austen was responsible for managing this realisation process through to its completion in 2013.
Although a relatively new entrant to the Real Estate industry, Austen has a wealth of management and business skills which transition well to his new career. Austen maintains a broad network of business professionals, commercial property owners, farmers and lifestyle block owners from his previous work and continues to build on these established relationships. His knowledge of all types of farming and forestry, combined with recent experience with irrigation consenting and design, land use change and both rural and commercial property management is a strength. With a reputation for providing informed and sound judgement and delivering results, Austen is looking forward to the opportunity in this new role and is committed to achieving the best possible outcome for all stakeholders.
Married to Mary, they have three children and reside on a lifestyle property at Harewood on the outskirts of Christchurch. Time away from work involves maintaining a large garden and at the same time taking an active role in his son’s rugby at both school and club level. The family are also involved in a range of other sporting interests, including equestrian, boating, fishing and skiing.