Opportunities give Keystone alumni a chance to pay it forward

June 19, 2023

Short on time but not opportunities, 2014 Keystone Trust Study Award recipient, current Dilworth School boarding house manager, and large format retail broker at Colliers, James Petherick’s professional success continues to open new doors – though he is sure to leave room to guide and support the next generation of emerging leaders.

Bolstered by an impressive resume which has seen him named Property Student of the Year at the University of Auckland in 2017, internationally ranked at the University of Sydney Business School and Cornell University real estate competitions, in addition to cutting his teeth at one of the country’s largest listed property companies, James credits a lifetime of learning with his tenacity and motivation to succeed.

Beginning his journey as a scholarship recipient at Dilworth School in Auckland in 2008, James thrived in the supportive atmosphere, later becoming Head Prefect in his graduate year of 2014.

Upon successful application for a Keystone Trust Study Award, James became a key member of the broader trust whānau, where he would later attend the inaugural Rugby Lunch, nabbing a spot in absentia at the Kiwi Property table.

By good fortune and his impressive ability to grab life’s opportunities with both hands, James made a strong impression on former Kiwi Property chief executive and Keystone Trust board member Chris Gudgeon, who invited him to join the business in a work experience position.

When quizzed on how he felt that day, as a young student at a table full of senior leaders, his answer is delightfully simple, and he says speaking to industry titans needn’t intimidate.

“They’re there for the students – to hear our stories and to better understand their role as Keystone Trust custodians and sponsorship partners. Listen, learn, stay focused and respond,” he says.  

At Kiwi Property, a fortnight of work experience quickly turned into a six-year tenure, during which James held various roles, gaining a depth of training across property and facilities management and leasing.

James says during this time, he benefitted from a culture of promotion from within, with career highlights involving lease forecasting and budgeting for the $277 million Sylvia Park Galleria expansion and H&M backfill at the East Auckland shopping centre.

“I was fortunate to have the support of my managers, and I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunities afforded to me as I moved into brokerage,” he says.

After completing the greatest number of sales transactions at Kiwi Property during the 2022 financial year, James has taken on a new challenge as a large-format retail broker at Colliers’ head office in downtown Auckland.

Speaking from the spectacular 23rd floor with a harbour view out to Rangitoto and the shimmering Hauraki Gulf, James is thrilled with his new role at one of New Zealand’s largest property agencies and finds the workplace dynamic and fun, with the professional environment abuzz with opportunities.

“There’s always something happening at Colliers, from workshops, personal and professional development sessions, skills masterclasses and networking opportunities. I have a multitude of ways to engage professionally, with an emphasis on mental and physical wellbeing.”

While he wholeheartedly embraces these new experiences, James says since returning to Dilworth School as a boarding house manager and first XI football coach, balancing opportunities can be challenging. However, he says he is clear about what matters to him, having developed a strong sense of self that continues to stand him in strong stead.

Daily guidance and support of the students at Dilworth remain a priority, and he relishes the opportunity to give back to the school that has offered him so much.

For students coming up through the ranks, James is clear in his council.

“Stay open to opportunities. Don’t turn down an invitation. Go to professional events, collaborate with others and establish long-term connections with your student cohort,” he says.

These principles have become his biggest asset as he moves from strength to professional strength, guided by a clear purpose and altruism that allows him not to look back but to offer his leadership skills for the new wave of rising stars.


For further media enquiries, please contact

 Amanda Stanes                                                                             
Keystone Trust – General Manager                                             
M: 021 689 380
E: amanda@keystonetrust.org.nz 

You may also like

Silver Anniversary for Trust Sponsorship Partner

Silver Anniversary for Trust Sponsorship Partner

“This is the best day of my life.” These are eight simple words but a lasting sentiment from a vibrant young lad from Gisborne that resonates with prominent business figure and esteemed trans-Tasman property leader Angus McNaughton today. “He was a school leaver, and...

read more
Our 2024 Keystone Trust Graduates

Our 2024 Keystone Trust Graduates

Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari kē he toa takitini - My success should not be bestowed onto me alone, it was not individual success but the success of a collective.   Congratulations to our Study Award graduates!   Kyle Hollowood 2019 Master of...

read more
Alumni Advocacy Revives Sponsor Relationship

Alumni Advocacy Revives Sponsor Relationship

More than two decades ago, as Director at the former Carson Group, Peter Chudleigh embraced a position as a sponsorship partner of the Keystone Trust. Fast forward to now, and the commitment is back in action, prompted by the persuasive call of Trustee and Keystone...

read more