Sib­ling self-starters make busi­ness fun

DAILY GRIND Af­ter mak­ing the de­ci­sion to step away from the rat race and go into busi­ness to­gether, Ol­lie and Hamish Fraser couldn’t be hap­pier. Cather­ine Healy spoke to them about their lat­est ven­ture.

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

If you’ve ever stopped at the drive-through cof­fee place on Ta­maki Drive, you might recog­nise th­ese faces.

Ol­lie and Hamish Fraser started that busi­ness in 2007 and spent a cou­ple of years get­ting up at the crack of dawn to grind beans and steam milk.

They were only 25 and 27 years old at the time, but when the chance came up to buy the Lil­liputt Minigolf course next door, they took it.

The Fraser boys come from an en­tre­pre­neur­ial Gis­borne fam­ily. Their par­ents owned a horse trekking busi­ness and the four of them have just started an­other ven­ture to­gether – a lodge on the fam­ily farm.

‘‘I was work­ing in the horse trekking busi­ness when I was 14,’’ Hamish says. ‘‘As a fam­ily we have plenty of small busi­ness knowl­edge.’’

The boys and their fa­ther were keen polo play­ers and Ol­lie would have loved to play pro­fes­sion­ally, if an ac­ci­dent hadn’t stopped him. His horse slipped and landed on top of him, shat­ter­ing his leg.

With so much time on his hands while re­cov­er­ing, his mind wan­dered. He had a prop­erty de­gree but could see that his fel­low grad­u­ates were strug­gling to get work.

‘‘I’d be sit­ting in bed email­ing Hamish, try­ing to work out how we could make some money.’’

Hamish was work­ing in ad­ver­tis­ing but was keen to es­cape and be his own boss.

So to­gether they leapt into the cof­fee busi­ness and then on to mini golf. They ex­tended the Ta­maki Drive op­er­a­tion from 18 holes to 36.

Ol­lie reck­ons he’s played al­most ev­ery mini golf course in New Zealand in the name of re­search.

Their sec­ond mini golf op­er­a­tion, The Lost World, has just opened in the base­ment of the Metro Cen­tre on Queen St.

There are 18 holes which take you on a jour­ney through sev­eral themed rooms. One is set in World War I; an­other is full of po­hutukawa and kiwi. There’s even a black light tun- nel where you have to rely on your ball and club glow­ing in the dark to make your shot.

There are di­nosaurs that move and roar as you walk by and gi­ant palm trees which had to be heaved down the stairs by the Frasers’ rugby play­ing mates.

It was Ol­lie’s job to go to China and source the right ma­te­ri­als. He’s re­luc­tant to say how much he spent on his haul of plas­tic di­nosaurs and trees, but the broth­ers are very pleased with the over­all ef­fect.

They’ve been care­ful to use ev­ery bit of avail­able space so that each hole is big enough and in­ter­est­ing enough to make for an en­joy­able game.

‘‘We spent days just draw­ing on the car­pet, de­sign­ing the holes. Then you start putting bricks in place and hit­ting balls to see which way they bounce,’’ Hamish says.

Like most sib­lings the boys are not afraid to abuse each other – and that’s a good thing when you’re in busi­ness to­gether, Hamish says.

‘‘It means we don’t bot­tle any­thing up. We’ll have a scrap and half an hour later, we’re good again.’’

If things go well at Queen St the Frasers will soon be look­ing for their next site. The boys al­ready have a ‘‘very cool’’ con­cept in mind for their next mini golf course.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Broth­erly busi­ness: Ol­lie, 31, and Hamish Fraser, 33, are busi­ness part­ners. They own Lil­liputt Minigolf on Ta­maki Drive and this new mini golf course in Queen St.

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