It is Friday at 10am and a 20-year tradition is under way at McDonald's in Merivale.
For the past two decades, a group of about 10 former real estate agents have been meeting every Friday morning for coffee, a catchup and "a good old laugh".
While most are no longer working, they still like to keep an eye on the Canterbury real estate scene.
Founding member and president Hugh Blaikie began work as a real estate agent for the first female real estate agent in New Zealand in 1960.
"I told her I'd work for her until such time as I could find a real job. I spent the next 40 years looking for a real job," he said.
Blaikie remembers starting the coffee tradition with two realtor friends as a way to keep in touch.
"I lived in Akaroa and every Friday my wife went shopping at Ballantynes, and I went for a coffee with Bill."
The club grew by word of mouth and chance encounters in the street, and soon the Real Estate Coffee Club was born.
Members range in age from 71 to 92.
The club began at the Windmill Centre in Riccarton.
Member Bill Mehalski, a founding member of the committee that established the Realtor magazine, said the group had moved venues several times because other patrons would complain they were too noisy.
They had been at McDonald's in Merivale for the past few years.
Blaikie said they all agreed there had been huge changes in the real estate scene in post-quake Christchurch.
"There was a confidence in real estate, but now that's gone. How you would give anyone confidence these days, I just don't know," he said.
Raines Bloxham does not believe the tradition will stop any time soon. "We like seeing one another, we have a lot of laughs and it's an hour every Friday that we all look forward to."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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