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Smith Poised To Hammer Aussies

News Release 13 September 2002

Smith Poised To Hammer Aussies

Leading Auckland property auctioneer Murray Smith is hoping to get one back on his Australian counterparts when he competes in the Australasian Property Auctioneering Championships in Auckland next year.

Mr Smith, who works for Barfoot & Thompson in Auckland, won the National Property Auctioneering Championship in Rotorua this week. The championship is held in conjunction with the Real Institute of New Zealand’s annual conference.

Mr Smith entered the real estate business 13 years ago after working as an engineer and in sales. A New Zealander has yet to win the Australasian title and he’s hoping he can change that next year.

“It would be nice to get a New Zealand name on the trophy, ” he said.

“One of the judges was an Australian and he said the standard was right up there with Victoria, which is renown for having the best auctioneering reputation out of all the Australian states.

The 39-year-old Mr Smith has conducted more than 3000 auctions. He does admit to the occasional bout of nerves before an auction though he says it’s one of the best ways to sell a home.

“It’s an enjoyable way of getting the best price for your client.”

“One of the funniest auctions I conducted was around a swimming pool. One of the bidders took a backward step and landed in the pool.”

His National Championship win is only the third time he’s been in a competition. Previously, he was a finalist twice at National level.

“I think you learn a little bit extra every time you compete. The standard of competition was very high this year – each year it seems to go up another notch.”

When Mr Smith takes on the Australians next year, he’ll have some help as National Championship runner-up Bryan Thomson of Christchurch will also be in the Kiwi stable.

Mr Thomson is the South Island regional manager for Harcourts Group, but on October 1 he will become the group’s chief executive.

The other two runner-ups in this year’s championship were John Abbott of Bayleys in Auckland and Roger Dawson who works for Grenadier Real Estate – a member of the Harcourts Group, Christchurch.

The championship attracted 21 entries this year and the panel of judges rated the competitors on style and personality, first impressions, ability to encourage bidders and handling of documents.

Ross Foreman, head of the Real Estate Institute’s Auctioneers’ Special Interest Group and one of six judges, said a simulated auction was held to test the competitors, but some complex bidding sequences added to the drama of the event which was attended by more than 200 “bidders” and onlookers.

The finalists were shown a Rotorua property on the morning of the finals and auctioneered it in the afternoon.

The finalists were announced at the Gala Dinner following the competition. The finalists conducted a charity auction and the substantial proceeds will go to a Rotorua based community charity yet to be named.


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