Adviser insight: More than just mortgages

Group of lions sleeping soundly

There are plenty of precious resources on planet Earth. Oil, gold, property - all finite assets, all things that people fight to get their share of. Entire industries are built around the acquisition, processing and sale of such commodities, and are the basis of a number of economies.

Here at Squirrel Mortgages, we care about your finances. Whether its your first home loan or your next investment property, we want to ensure you make the most of your capital. But we aren't just about that. Whether it's through our financial education programmes or sponsoring community teams, we're adamant in our support of the future of the communities and environment around us too.

One of the staff members who exemplifies this all-encompassing care that we aim for at Squirrel is Mortgage Adviser Basil "Baz" Frank, who has brought his love for his homeland's native wildlife with him to Aotearoa.

For the love of animals

Originally from South Africa, Baz has been living in New Zealand for about a year. While he has made our country his home, he certainly hasn't abandoned his love for his country of birth. Primary among his passions are conservation efforts for the swiftly-dwindling wildlife of South Africa.

For many years, South Africa has been the target of syndicates of poachers and their enablers, hunting endangered, native species for profit. Save the Rhino International tells us that poaching has reached a "crisis point", with over 1,000 rhinos killed every year since 2013. While efforts have increased to keep these animals safe, there is only so much people can do in the face of high demand for illicit rhino horn.

"The problem that South Africa has is having close borders with other countries, which makes it very easy for poachers to get into the country," described Baz.

"Coming from South Africa and being a wildlife lover, I've always wondered why one can't just get another place for them to live in - Australia and New Zealand don't have those problems."

The trip of a lifetime

But how could we help? Baz describes how the Pacific would be an ideal place to start a South-African-style wildlife park, where animals can roam free without the need for enclosures or cages and, better yet, without the fear of poachers.

"In Australia, there is a very similar type of environment and temperature in the desert areas," he explained.

"Why can't there be something set up for them [there]?"

Baz is so supremely passionate about this cause that he even describes it as one of his dreams. However, it appears that this particular fantasy is far closer to a reality than one might think. Baz made specific mention of a fellow South African in Australia who is doing almost exactly as he describes, though only for rhinos for the time being.

The Australian Rhino Project, which intends to fly 80 rhinos to Australia in order to create an "insurance population", is an excellent starting point for the kind of environment Baz believes in for South African animals in Australia. However, this is only really the beginning of Baz's dream, as he hopes for a more permanent park for everything from elephants to oryx in the future. 

"I believe that I have the connections in South Africa in order to make this dream come true," he said.

"I would only need a connection in Aussie to assist and to connect these individuals with each other."

This is a man committed to using his professional and personal contacts to help keep a little bit of South Africa safe in the Pacific. Here's to hoping Baz and the team at Squirrel can help make this dream a reality!

Basil Frank is just one of the many Mortgage Advisers here to help you at Squirrel. For expert advice on a wide range of home loans, make sure you get into contact with our team today.