Another side of Timothy Terence Manning – caring and creative as he stays ahead of the pack

Posted on Thursday, November 19th, 2009 at 3:04 pm in

Timothy Terence Manning, although often recognised as one of the most innovative and successful resort developers in Australasia, usually keeps a very low profile.

But when the Napier, New Zealand-born Manning decides to support a cause he can be relied on to do something relevant, creative and caring, which inevitably attracts the attention of the media.

He first attracted international media attention in 2002 when he swapped a two-week, all-expenses-paid holiday with a United States student, Tara Dale, for her email address, He wanted to secure it for one of a number of companies he has been associated with in a glittering career.

In addition he paid over NZ$3,000 to repair the clock in the Taradale, Napier, War Memorial and invited Tara Dale to his old home town.

On the caring front; in early 2007, in support of his Pacific Islands Partnership — with former All Black and rugby Sevens legend and TV personality, Eric ‘Rushie’ Rush, amongst others — Timothy Manning opted to support a Fijian aid programme with a difference – Performers4Poverty.

A group of New Zealand entertainers, under the encouragement of Annie Hensby, performing at Auckland schools, were motivated to waive their fees, while, in exchange, school kids brought gifts for poor Fijian kids.

The Tara Dale story tells you a lot about the man born in that small seaside town in February 1959. He can be creative – Tara Dale initially turned down a money offer. Tim Manning is also very sensitive to the feelings and issues affecting any community he deals with. He is proud of his roots and his origins. He is passionate about living by the sea (he lives in a Takapuna seaside mansion with his family) and bringing that experience to others.

Sensing the important role technology would play in the future, Tim Manning left Napier to study for a Bachelor of Technology degree at Massey University in Palmerston North. During that time he was elected President of the Student Union.

A nominee for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur’s Award has over 20 years been involved with more than 50 projects valued at over US$1-billion, and been a director of more than 200 companies in that time.
The nature and procedures of New Zealand property development, particularly the resort and multi-unit projects, create a multiplicity of companies for each project.

“Innovation” and “the pursuit of perfection” has been the trademark of the Timothy Manning brand throughout his career. He also developed a reputation for spotting trends and market demands ahead of his rivals. These have included (in no particular order):

  • First to win approval from the Rodney local authority, to develop in Snells Beach, behind Kawau Island, resulting in the environmentally and financially successful Whisper Cove.
  • First to successfully create large gated-communities in New Zealand, a peaceful country that would apparently have no use for them;
  • First to see the benefit in refurbishing commercial buildings in the Auckland CBD into apartments – bringing life to the downtown;
  • First to creatively develop apartments in Ponsonby, a traditional suburban area close to the city, which has become the hub of Auckland’s café society;
  • First to have the vision to develop apartments in Albany, miles from the city, at what was to become the northern bus terminus;
  • First to include on-site management, gymnasium and tennis courts etc. — along with integrated security – now a standard package for all developers.

Described as one of “the most desirable beach retreats”, Auckland’s prestigious and innovative beachfront development, Whisper Cove, has recently been bought by Sydney-based property financer, Lance Hodgkinson of Bluestone Property Services.

Hodgkinson originally brokered the deal with Babcock and Brown to fund the much-admired development at Snells Beach, just north of central Auckland. The New Zealand Herald has reported that the project sold for $215-million, after being originally valued at $180-million, meaning Manning has shown at least a 20 percent value enhancement on the original estimate.

Hodgkinson, of all people, will know the financials inside out and he was still prepared to put the money down(it was he who described it to the New Zealand Herald as one of the most desirable beach retreats). He is said to have told colleagues that he believes he has got the best beach development in Australasia at what he reckons in time will be seen to be a bargain.

The 16 ha private beachfront site at Kawau Bay was put together – as legend would have it – by Tim Manning after he had flown the length and breadth of New Zealand “looking for the perfect site”.

He is a known perfectionist who wanted privacy and security to be paramount at Whisper Cove. Most of the buyers of the 160 villas and apartments are thought to be wealthy overseas buyers and investors looking for those features.

Robert Railley, one of New Zealand’s top architects and head of design at Swan Railley and Associates is enormously proud of the way the creative architectural design  and the solidly built structures have blended in the development which is expected to scoop many awards on completion.

Needless to say, not being part of the property establishment in Auckland – along with Tony Gapes, Rick Martin and Nigel McKenna — has sometimes made for critical comments from the media dependent on the old-family developers for advertising revenue.