Our Team

‘The Locals’ team work closely together with a shared vision and common goal to always achieve the best result. You’ll find there is a certain way we operate; we prefer to keep it real... for real people.

Lesley

Lesley Hawes

Sales

At the top of her field for nearly two decades, Lesley’s phenomenal real estate career is an inspiring story.

Joining the industry in the early ‘90s in Wellington she showed a natural talent from the get go, becoming a leading salesperson in the Leaders' office of Lower Hutt. A relocation to Auckland a few years later meant reinventing her real estate career with a new home and new contacts to build. Settling into Western Springs, Lesley decided to go to work in her local ‘patch’ and set her sights on becoming the real estate salesperson of choice in the area.

To say she has achieved this goal is somewhat of an understatement. Over the past 15 years Lesley has become a ‘local landmark’ herself – there are few people in the community who don’t know her name or share a wave with her on a daily basis as she zips around in her yellow Mini. She has had the privilege of selling over 80% of the homes in this area and quite a number have now dealt with her 2 or 3 times.

Lesley developed as market leader in Western Springs and surrounds working as a salesperson from the Ray White Mt Albert office for almost 10 years, and her outstanding performance saw her win numerous accolades over that time. These include 5 consecutive years as Ray White NZ’s No 1 Salesperson and being in the top 3 in the country for the whole decade. She gained international ranking in the company too with her penultimate achievement in 2005 as the No 1 International Salesperson across the entire Ray White network.

Over 20 years into her real estate career, Lesley’s energy and passion are as strong as ever. She sees her role as helping people to fit the pieces of the real estate puzzle together. “I love the challenge it presents and get great satisfaction from the contribution I’m able to make to other people’s lives."
Ruth’s authentic, people-oriented approach gets results. She currently holds Ray White’s top accolade, International Supreme Salesperson – beating a field of 5,000 salespeople from 1,000 offices throughout eight countries to the title. Not bad for a local!

Motivated to deliver the best results for her clients, Ruth’s early career in nursing matched her empathetic drive to make a positive impact on people’s lives. But real estate is in Ruth’s DNA and it wasn’t long before she joined her mother Lesley Hawes at the helm of The Locals sales team.

Always known to go the extra mile to fine tune every detail of a sale, her integrity inspires confidence and a sense of ease with clients. Ruth’s commitment to establishing great relationships and understand clients’ needs, her positive and effective negotiation style and good old-fashioned work ethic are essential to her approach.

With the support of a dedicated team around her, there's no doubt your property decisions are in great hands when you're working with Ruth.
Tim’s friendly, positive personality and background as a teacher make him naturally client-focussed and results-driven. His social, easy-going nature is balanced by a determination to find exactly the right solution for clients – working on the understanding that the quality of his relationships and solid work ethic can make an impact for people at an important transition in their lives.

Growing up in the Hawes family it was perhaps inevitable Tim would join the family trade at some point. His background in the real estate market was established from a young age delivering flyers, answering Lesley’s phone and spending hours in her car listening to Brian Tracy tapes between appointments and to and from school.

Since becoming one of ‘The Locals’ at Ray White 10 years ago, Tim has made his mark on every corner of the business –  having been hands-on in all aspects from property management and marketing to administration and office management.

A valuable member of our sales team, Tim’s accumulated knowledge, positive negotiation style, opportunity focus and open approach to communication ensure clients achieve the results they want and enjoy the journey to the next chapter of their lives.
Sarah

Sarah Baldwin

Sales

Our newest Local, Sarah joins our sales team as a licensed salesperson working alongside Ruth and Tim Hawes in a support role. Nelson born and bred, Sarah came to Auckland to explore a career in the real estate industry and lucky for us we found her and snapped her up!

She's spent the majority of her working life focusing on people, as a proud Mum with a wealth of experience in retail sales and a degree in counselling she fits our company values like a glove.

Although we know a lot of people say this, working with people is something Sarah really does have a great skill and passion for. You will see for yourself very quickly that Sarah does all she can with everyone she comes into contact with to make their day just that little bit better. She was a Local at heart before we even met her!

Outside of work Sarah is a keen photographer (which could come in handy at work too!) and her enthusiasm for fashion is hard to miss….she's beautifully presented on a daily basis. We're all a little green with envy.
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Jana Hawes

Property Management

Jana is a valuable part of our Property Management team and as you can no doubt tell from the name she is both a valued Locals team member and a family member, so she really couldn’t be more invested in making your experience with us a success if she tried.

Her background has included a range of customer service roles in the health sector with her original field of expertise and study being in nutrition where she holds a Master's degree in science. Jana's unflappable and cheerful attitude in the face of even the busiest day is such an asset to our team. She gets genuine pleasure out of doing a great job for her customers and colleagues alike and brings a calm and organised approach to everything she does.
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Nikki Bennett

Property Management

As the Business Manager of our Property Management division, Nikki is responsible for ensuring our property management team consistently exceeds the expectations of our clients as well as driving the ongoing growth and success of this arm of the business.

Nikki’s enthusiasm, drive and bubbly personality are apparent from the moment you meet her. A dedicated and results-driven manager who prides herself on delivering what she has promised, she has the ability to think on her feet and get creative if hurdles arise on the way to achieving her goals.

Having successfully achieved a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Massey University majoring in Psychology, Nikki moved into a sales rep position with GWA Bathrooms & Kitchens (NZ), Australia’s leading designer & manufacturer of both domestic & commercial bathroom products. She moved through the ranks at speed to a key business position as National Sales Manager with over 15 years B2B sales experience in the bathroom and kitchen industries before she joined The Locals team.

She is without doubt a genuine people person and always makes the time to listen. Her natural ability to build strong relationships with internal and external customers alike comes as no surprise as her people skills really set her apart from the pack!
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Brett Gordon

Property Management

With over 12 years of industry experience and a natural ability to create and build relationships Brett’s clients will no doubt quickly appreciate his positive attitude, varied skill set and ability to learn quickly.

Brett strives to provide seamless results for his clients starting with a strong focus on the delivery of the core ingredients of Property Management such as routine inspections, monitoring rent payments and managing maintenance. He ensures each tenancy is managed effectively and will match the best possible tenants to your property.

His wealth of experience has allowed him to hone his negotiation skills and ability to manage conflicts and disputes through to a resolution with ease and his ability to tailor his service to suit your needs will ensure you get the very best service at all times.
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Shannara Walker

Property Management

Shannara works with our rental team in the vital role of Team Co-ordinator and Administrator. She helps our Property Managers to make sure that all the i’s get dotted and all the t’s get crossed and no matter how busy she gets she does it all with a smile.

With a background in sales and events management in the hospitality industry Shannara knows just how to juggle priorities to make sure everyone’s varied needs are met and takes pride in making sure all the details are taken care of.

We knew as soon as we met her she was just what The Locals Property Management team needed and her positive and enthusiastic approach to every task makes her a perfect fit!
David

David Lopdell

Property Management

David began his property management career in Auckland with one of Ray White's top offices in New Zealand. In 2014 he relocated with his partner to South Canterbury and subsequently took on a sole charge Property Manager role at Ray White Timaru before moving to join the team at The Locals in 2016.

Before undertaking a career in property management, David studied a Bachelor of Business Studies at Massey University, with a major in Property Valuation and Management and a Finance minor - evidence of his strong interest in and commitment to the field of real estate. In an unregulated industry, in which property managers are often unqualified, this qualification along with experience and Ray White's industry-leading training can assure you that your asset(s) are managed by a professional that exercises due care and diligence. David strives to ensure that we are not just another 'expense' for our clients, but rather an investment - maximising their return on investment, while (importantly) also making sure that their risks are minimised.

David can help you whether you are a new investor in residential property, a seasoned investor or an accidental landlord. If you are looking into property management, are dissatisfied with your current property manager or just want some advice - get in touch and see how the excellent service provided by David and the team at The Locals can help you reach your property goals.
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Chris Hawes

Management and Administration

After a long career as an aircraft technician with the Royal Air Force, Chris, Lesley and family moved to New Zealand in 1977. Chris put away his toolbox in 1978 and joined the then Civil Aviation Division of MOT as an Airworthiness Surveyor. A minor mid life crisis in 1986 saw the family purchase a motel business from which they escaped in 1990. This was good training for customer service and finding ways to meet people's needs.

Chris returned to Aviation with the new Civil Aviation Authority in Wellington, until the call of the sea became too strong and in 1994 the family returned to Auckland where one can sail in comfort. Chris worked at Air NZ Flight Operations until 1999 and during this time was pressed into service to assist with Lesley’s blossoming real estate career. Chris then joined Lesley full time as PA/Office Manager/Sign man and gained his Real Estate Salespersons certificate the same year. He helped to provide the organisational detail which has allowed Lesley to consistently perform.

In 2006 Chris and Lesley opened the Ray White Kingsland office. Chris was made an Associate of the Real Estate Institute and obtained Agent Licensee status in 2007, when he became Principal and Manager of the successful Locals team serving Kingsland, Western Springs, Morningside and Eden Terrace.  He is very proud of the success of the office where Lesley and Ruth both achieved Number 1 Salesperson Awards for Ray White NZ in 2011 and Ruth went on to win International Supreme Salesperson for Ray White in 2013.

Chris is a family person and enjoys the challenge of working with Lesley and their three children Ruth, Rachel and Tim. When not at work Chris enjoys sailing in the Hauraki Gulf and with succession planning in full swing he is enjoying having more time to venture further afield.
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Rachel Hawes

Management and Administration

Hugely capable and extremely efficient (with two capital Es!) Rachel was an integral part of setting up the family business at Ray White Kingsland in 2006. “Borrowed” from a very successful job in Wellington she originally had intentions of returning to her excellent government department job – but blood is thicker than pretty much anything as they say, and thank goodness we still have her here.

Rachel's diverse array of skills comes from a wide and varied career ranging from hospitality management, HR and payroll through to IT auditing and corporate finance. Her superb attention to detail and a logical approach to problem solving (and getting things done!) add a fabulous dimension to The Locals management team.

Initially on board to set up the internal systems and administration for the office when we opened Rachel then took on the responsibility of starting up The Locals Property Management Division in 2007. In this hugely important arm of the business we now have a team of 5 and close to 300 properties in our care and we’re proud to see it going from strength to strength. Rachel also works closely with the sales team supporting Ruth and Tim and is becoming an integral part of this side of the business as well. She can be seen often hosting open homes, coordinating photo shoots, at auction nights and anywhere she is needed!

Always on top of her game and usually moving at speed, Rachel is totally committed to providing outstanding customer service and her many happy clients will tell you that ‘going the extra mile’ is something she does each and every day.
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Tui Thorn

Management and Administration

Tui joined The Locals team as a customer service manager and receptionist in 2010 after graduating with a Visual Arts degree and she has been with us ever since…. thank goodness! Her charming and unflappable approach saw her excel in the office’s ‘first impressions’ role and her excellent interpersonal skills quickly made her an invaluable asset to the team.

We have been delighted to see her take on new challenges every year and be able to put her creative talents to use as our go to girl for all things marketing. From property brochures and screen displays to our expanding social media, website and marketing endeavours, Tui’s natural flair for design combined with a Gen Y technological adeptness makes her the ideal person to take the lead on this increasingly important aspect of our business.

Her willingness to take things on and go the extra mile along with the dedication and care Tui puts into everything she does is a true reflection of the values we hold dear here at The Locals.
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Vanesa Kuga-Djordjevic

Management and Administration

Vanesa will be the one to greet you when you call or come to The Locals Kingsland office and we know her ready smile and professional manner will make you feel very welcome and well looked after! With an eye for detail she takes great pleasure in getting things done right no matter the size of the task.

Vanesa has experience in the advertising industry having worked as a production assistant - she is passionate about photography and her skills working with creative software adds huge value to our team with her help in perfecting our marketing material and advertising.

Her first introduction to the real estate industry was as a tenant liaison officer followed by an administration role then a promotion to a Business Development Manager and Project Manager. As project manager she was responsible for auditing and tracking performance of rental portfolio over different sectors. She also spent time working as a Property Manager with responsibility for a portfolio of rental properties before she joined our team.

When we met Vanesa, she was looking for a new challenge but wanting to stay in the real estate sector and we knew straight away she was the perfect fit for us!

Sales

Lesley

Lesley Hawes

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Ruth Hawes

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Tim Clear Cut

Tim Hawes

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Sarah

Sarah Baldwin

Property Management

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Jana Hawes

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Nikki cropped

Nikki Bennett

Brett Gordon web

Brett Gordon

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Shannara Walker

David

David Lopdell

Management and Administration

Chris Clear cut

Chris Hawes

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Rachel Clear Cut

Rachel Hawes

Rachel
Tui Clear Cut

Tui Thorn

Tui
Vanesa web

Vanesa Kuga-Djordjevic