Listeners to RNZ’s news over recent years will have frequently heard items about New Zealand’s- and particularly Auckland’s-housing woes. A voice with which they may be familiar is that of Leonie Freeman, one of New Zealand’s most knowledgeable and respected commentators on the housing market.
Leonie’s five years at Linwood began in 1978 in form 3S1. At the celebrations to mark the closure of the ‘old Linwood ‘in June, Leonie fondly recounted her time at the school, and the important part it had played in her life. Leonie played clarinet in the orchestra under ‘ Maestro’ Tony Ryan and traces her on-going interest in sport to the experiences she had at Linwood. Leonie made particular reference to Rodger Alexander, attributing to his guidance her decision to attend Lincoln University and complete a property degree, an academic pathway that was, for the time, unusual for a young woman. Leonie went on to complete a Masters degree majoring in property management and valuation.
Now Auckland based, Leonie has accumulated a wealth of experience in both the public and private property markets. In 1996, she created the concept of what is now realestate.co.nz. The venture was originally known as RealENZ.co.nz., and was one of the first major commercial websites launched in New Zealand. After a very successful venture in private real estate, Leonie turned to the public domain. She was the strategic property advisor to the Greater Auckland Council and went on to project manage complex developments for them.
This led to her involvement at the national level as general manager of Housing New Zealand and director of Goodman Property Trust. In 2018 she was appointed CEO of the New Zealand Property Council. She continues to be at the forefront in seeking creative solutions to housing issues. Using her earlier experience, she created another website, https://thehomepage.nz/ with the primary purpose of seeking solutions to the Auckland housing crisis, and at the request of the Minister of Finance, conducted a strategic review of the social housing programme to inform future government policy.
Leonie is a member of Global Women, a collaborative group of New Zealand’s most influential women.