“We have phenomenal teams - and we give you a team of your own! Our culture comes first and the opportunities follow. We have outstanding professionals who dedicate their hearts and passions for the benefit and needs of our clients. We simply can’t do it without the team and Client Service is not a department with us, it is our entire company!” 37 years young, 250+ staff and partners, 730+ years of current industry experience, 300,000+ sq. metres of spatial design, seismic strengthening, project and cost management, construction, development and delivery.
It was 1982 and the New Zealand commercial fit-out market was not in good form. David Gaze had spent the past decade overseeing significant commercial builds and was frustrated with large cavities in (1) efficient spatial design and (2) the project costs of commercial fit-outs - no one was delivering.
David’s solution was to overhaul this market, to optimize clients’ spatial needs, to transform clients' project costs and to impact on clients' productivity.
The result of his drive and passion revolutionized NZ’s tertiary arena with New Zealand’s major universities introducing the first Interior Architectural Design pathways in 1986, specific to interior fit-outs and in direct response to David pivoting this once hugely unsophisticated market.
David knew every start-up needed to build solutions and to transform this market, he needed an uber-skilled team dedicated to clients’ needs. "By focusing on clients’ needs, we were delivered immediate success in capturing a substantial market, we created clients addicted to our performance and generated outstanding team synergy.” David's mantra became not just a division within the company - but is the entire company.
Altered name to Gaze Interiors to identify with this new commercial interior market and landed the first of many substantial New Zealand contracts, including most leading law and accountancy firms.
“We have always had fantastic staff, where culture comes first and phenomenal opportunities follow. Our fabulous teams dedicate their lives and passion, they deliver pride and enjoyment to the final product; I simply can’t do without this amazing team."
The company grew exponentially, refurbishing and relocating to a penthouse floor in Newmarket and during this expansion, a second name change occurred - Gaze Commercial. One of the first projects was helping a small real estate company shift into the central city. Let’s just say David and his team were instrumental in putting Bayleys ‘on the map’ (as they did Colliers and Barfoot and Thompson in future years).
The mid-80s was transformational for the company. Over 50 staff members commandeered the top two storeys of what is now known as the Westfield 277 Shopping Centre. We were embracing all new technologies (one of the first businesses to install a fax machine) and had the privilege of working with high-end organizations at the time such as Chase Corporation, Equicorp, Landmark and many more.
David identified a wealth of opportunities around this time - NZ was awash with older 2nd and 3rd-grade buildings desperately needing to be repurposed. To raise capital for multiple refurbishments, David listed Gaze Commercial on the New Zealand Stock Exchange. Within months of this listing, the global markets surged. This unsettled David, he was uncomfortable with the lack of fiscal governance by many. He immediately privatized, sold down all property, paid back all shareholders, renegotiated all leases and in July moved the head office into a property on the outskirts of the CBD. He battened-down-the-hatches and set about surviving the now historical sharemarket crash where, in the space of 24 hours on 19 October 1987, global stock markets went into freefall.
A severe cyclone in Niue saw the company develop and deliver a pre-fabricated motel to the tiny South Pacific nation, as well as undertaking the complete rebuild and refurbishment for what was then, the only international hotel on the island. The entire South Pacific opened its doors - including Papua New Guinea, Samoa and American Samoa. Gaze Commercial moved into building and construction materials and exporting graders and bulldozers. At the time it was David identifying any need in the market, keep the cash flow moving and riding out the recession.
Gaze's global expansion to overseas marketplaces continued, including Vietnam where the American-imposed embargo had been lifted. Gaze refurbished old French Villas for relocating expats, re-opened commercial buildings in Vietnam, contracted by companies including Coca Cola, Johnson & Johnson and the American Consulate. New premises were constructed, refurbished, repurposed.
David and the Gaze team were sub-contracted by a large Korean Developer to construct and fit-out high-end apartments in Ho Chi Minh city. A massive financial crisis in Asia evidenced the development halt before it was completed and the business was owed millions of dollars. It was time for David to head home and back to his team in New Zealand.
We concentrated on Auckland and Wellington markets, delivering many exciting architectural interior design projects and accruing recognition for many.
David's appetite for global stretch saw him relocate to London with his family and immersing Gaze into post-war commercial projects in Croatia, large tourism and hospitality developments in Malta, partnering Gaze with European companies and delivering inherent learnings to the team via these partnerships.
Corporate Social Responsibility has been a pivotal thread within Gaze throughout the decades. Gaze established a Memorandum of Agreement with the International Trust Fund for Demining & Mine Victims Assistance (ITF), to purchase land-mined areas in Croatia and Sarajevo, de-mine and sell back, with profits re-directed to purchase more land and repeat the cycle. The Global Financial Crisis depleted investment, especially with the Madoff and Stanford ponzi schemes diminishing many benefactors' nett worth and access to funds.
David and his family returned to New Zealand in 2010 and immediately relocated the head office in Auckland. The Gaze Foundation for Educational Equity was established and working in partnership with the Centre for Brain Research is developing the globe's first neuroplasticity programme for the benefit of 800,000 children in NZ (and students globally).
After the devastating Christchurch earthquakes, a separate Christchurch CBD office was opened to complete earthquake repairs, remedy seismic damage and reposition companies into temporary premises whilst Gaze addressed their relocation back to the CBD. It was also the inaugural year for Gaze Property Partnerships (GPP), with investments ranging from 8-storey office towers, to apartments and major industrial developments.
GPP continues to increase the number of investment opportunities and David concentrates on the expansion of this entity. The core businesses of Commercial Interiors, Cost and Project Management, Seismic Restoration are brilliantly governed by three key teams: Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
Gaze Commercial moves the head office into a High Street building in what used to house the infamous Rakino’s Restaurant and Bar, refurbishing this space into a fabulous team-friendly fun place to work, design and deliver. You will often sight the team coming up for air and taking time on the balcony, which overhangs Freyburg Square.
37 years young, 35+ staff, 300,000+ sq. metres of spatial design, seismic strengthening, project and cost management, construction, development and delivery.
Not many companies make it to over 37 years in business, many of them don’t even make it past one year, and to that success, David credits his team and the outstanding work they do.
“We have phenomenal teams. Our culture comes first and the opportunities follow. We have fabulous people who dedicate their lives and passion for the enjoyment and needs of our clients. We simply can’t do it without the team.”
This year we also moved 25,000 cubic metres of topsoil to make way for the new Tidal Road industrial development in Mangere.
In partnership with the Turner family, we're developing the new township between Auckland and Hamilton! Sleepyhead Estate will showcase the new Sleepyhead premises, alongside retail, residential, commercial and industrial estates.
Watch this space!
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