Making it easy — The story of Hadley and Kylie Gardner

Hadley and Kylie Gardner outside the Totara park show home
Hadley and Kylie Gardner outside the Totara park show home

Hadley Gardner and Kylie Marino were 3 years apart at Otaki College.

Hadley didn’t stay on for the seventh form at school, but went to England for some OE. The first six months he worked in a pub, then came under the wing of Otaki man Hamish Scott, ending up living with the Scotts and working for Hamish. Hadley, a decent front row forward managed to play some rugby in England, and show the poms some kiwi style.

Back home after two and a half years in England, Hadley worked for his dad, then was persuaded by cousin Todd who was a builder to take on an apprenticeship. Hadley spent three and a half years with TSP construction, emerging at the age of 24 as a qualified builder.

Halfway through his apprenticeship, Hadley and Kylie were married. Once qualified, Hadley and Kylie went to Canada, where he played semi-professional rugby. “It was awesome” he remembers. At the end of the one-year contract they came back to Otaki where Hadley went into construction.

‘Making it easy’ is the Gardner Homes motto, and it seems to work. They have happy staff, happy customers and even manage to radiate a fair amount of happiness themselves.

Meanwhile Kylie got a job in the office at Te Wanaga o Raukawa, and when Nga Purapura opened, she joined them, taking on a two year personal training degree by correspondence, which she naturally passed with flying colours. Hadley had joined forces with Telford MacKay, had taken on two apprentices, Tyson Matthews & Jackson Murray, and was building houses. Hadley ruefully remembers that as an apprentice he learned “how to be a builder, not how to run a business.” Kylie was persuaded to help with the books, and after some persuading agreed to come on board.

Byron Brown Place at the beach was Gardners first big project, a subdivision of 8 houses. Everybody talked about how good it was.

With Kylie as business manager, the partnership has boomed, and Gardner Builders have morphed into Gardner Homes and are the force to be reckoned with about town. The next major project was Totara park, part of the Sue Avenue subdivision, which started in 2012. Gardner’s philosophy has been to offer a complete package with no hidden costs. This works well, and they have built 12 houses in Totara Park for an average cost of $380,000 which has ensured regular sales. “No unhappy customers” says Kylie.

The next project has been at Rangiuru Road, where the subdivision has 12 houses, of three bedrooms and140 sq metres, with an all-inclusive price of $345,000. Target is first home buyers and people wanting to downsize. One has already sold, with three under construction. This project will run until the end of this year.

The next subdivision is in Kirk Street, where there are 12 sections, and council have agreed to call it Gardner Way. Construction of another showhome will begin later in the year.

So how do they do it?

Hadley Gardner is a cool dude who gets on well with everyone. All his contractors enjoy working with him, and he keeps his customers satisfied. Backing him up is Kylie Gardner, who keeps the show on the road. Spreadsheets, schedules, bills of materials, consents and contracts are her stock in trade. She reckons they spend their holidays looking at showhomes, but she still finds time to bring up a family. Children are Nikau, Nevaeh and Kupa who get dragged along to plant or clean subdivisions on their weekends and holidays.

‘Making it easy’ is the Gardner Homes motto, and it seems to work. They have happy staff, happy customers and even manage to radiate a fair amount of happiness themselves.