Growing up on a mixed farm in North Canterbury, Austen began a long association with the region and its rural communities. While contracting and operational management in the forest industry was his primary employment, at the same time he owned and operated a small sheep and crop farm prior to selling this and moving to Christchurch in 2005 to pursue a new position based in Darfield.
This position gave Austen the opportunity to utilise his combined experience in farming and forestry in his 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 success 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.
Austen has completed his Real Estate branch managers qualification and this complements a wealth of business and management skills which he can apply to the Real Estate business. 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 committed to achieving the best possible outcome for all stakeholders.