That little building on Hillsborough Road, perched on a small, triangular shaped section opposite the road to Waikowhai Bay. Many of us travelled past it for years, ‘seeing but not seeing’; for a few years it housed a ball gown shop, and before that a church.
Then a few years ago some building work began and an apartment block began to emerge, with offices on the ground floor. It was intriguing to watch this new building helping to shape the landscape of the new look of Auckland, where multi-storey apartments and town houses replace single family houses and little old shacks that have stood for years. With a housing shortage city wide, in many cases the only way to go is up.
Rohit Patel is the man with the vision for this site. He designed it himself with offices for his primary business, Eclipse Insurance & Mortgages in mind. The building also houses two apartments and another ground floor office space.
In 1989 as a 16-year-old, Rohit came to New Zealand with his family from Fiji. He continued his schooling at Lynfield College and in the early nineties studied for a Diploma in Financial Services. Then for seven years he worked for State Insurance before going out on his own.
Rohit naturally gravitates toward people, and uses his knowledge, experience and resources to help where he can. “He just can’t say no!” laughs an associate, Shalini Shandil, who has known him since they were teenagers. “Rohit always gives 110% to anything he’s involved in, whether that be family, community or business”, she says. “He works really hard – in the early days he worked two jobs to pay his mortgage – yet he always finds time to walk beside a person in need. He’s like an amateur life coach at times”, she says, smiling.
Rohit believes that all people have value, some just need someone to take an interest in them and give them some life advice. “I like to think I made a positive difference in someone’s life. I believe in ‘paying it forward’”, he says.
Far from being ‘all work and no play’, Rohit is also sporty and active. He recently cycled to the city with his teenage daughter, enjoys the occasional round of golf when he has time, and with a keen interest in performance cars, he’s a bit of a petrol-head as well.
But his biggest sporting passion is soccer. Rohit’s team ‘Young Bloods’ (of which he is president) competed in the 2019 Annual Gujarati Soccer Tournament over Easter weekend. They didn’t make the finals, but Rohit is satisfied that he gave it everything he had. “Successful people have no fear of failure; they have resilience, learn the lessons and adapt from it,” he says.