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Determined Tauranga agent’s dangerous journey from Zimbabwe to NZ

Not many people have had to leave a volatile situation with an AK-47 machine gun pointed at them, but Tauranga Tall Poppy agent Annette Yeatman did just that, when she and her family left Zimbabwe for a new life.

Annette grew up on an 800-hectare Zimbabwean fruit farm, where wildlife was an everyday thing. Like a “girl-version of Bear Grylls,” she recalls facing everything from hippos and elephants to crocodiles and buffalo.

She went on to build a career in public relations, interior design, and property, but as the millennium dawned, the violence surrounding land grabs carried out under former president Robert Mugabe escalated, and Annette knew it was time to leave. Pregnant and fearing for her life, she made it across the border into South Africa with her family, who had their whole life packed into three suitcases.

However, the ordeal was not yet over, as break-ins, home invasions and six murders on their street prompted the family to flee once more, with the distant peace of New Zealand their ultimate goal. Thankfully, in 2001, they made it - settling in Tauranga and raising their children in a world completely different to the one Annette grew up in.


Now, having recently joined Tall Poppy’s Tauranga South team, Annette has stepped seamlessly into real estate as a natural progression for her existing skills, and brings tenacity and a very philosophical and inspirational worldview.

“When circumstances are crazy, it comes down to family and people,” she says.

“Through all those things, relationships, community and seeing the good in life is what counts”.

Annette says meeting new people every day through her work with Tall Poppy is a privilege and an opportunity to connect - something she learned to cherish at a young age. Having experienced the uncertainty of life, with its twists and turns, and after looking danger in the face, she truly believes every day is a gift.