Winning bid for auctioneer title

SUE O'DOWD
Last updated 12:23 28/11/2013
NZ Farmers Livestock frontmen Chris Hay and Jeremy Newell were the country's top two auctioneers in a Canterbury A&P show.
CAMERON BURNELL/Fairfax NZ
ON SONG: NZ Farmers Livestock frontmen Chris Hay and Jeremy Newell were the country's top two auctioneers in a Canterbury A&P show.

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Two young Taranaki auctioneers have been judged the best in the country in a national competition.

Only half a point separated winner Chris Hay, 23, and colleague Jeremy Newell, 25, who took second place in the Heartland Bank Young Auctioneers Competition at the Canterbury A&P Show.

The pair are auctioneers and livestock agents at New Zealand Farmers Livestock (NZFL).

Eight auctioneers from throughout New Zealand competed in the event, which is in its second year.

Hay received the New Zealand Stock & Station Agents Association Young Auctioneers Trophy, $2500 in prizes and a trip to the 2014 Sydney Royal Easter Show to watch the Australian Young Auctioneers Competition.

He was working on a drystock farm east of Stratford when NZFL offered him a job as a stock agent two years ago. "I always thought I would be a stock agent one day - but perhaps not yet."

Based in Whanganui, he works in the Patea, Waverley and Whanganui areas and has been auctioneering sporadically for the past 14 months.

He practises in the car - "I look like an idiot" - or "up there" on the rostrum.

He also learns by watching other auctioneers at work. He said he conducted auctions from a platform of honesty.

"I call it as it is rather than talking it up. I yell at the crowd - and they seem to listen."

Newell, of Stratford, joined the company three years ago and works as an agent in eastern Taranaki.

"I've always loved being around farming," he said.

Asked by the company if he was interested in auctioneering, he said he'd give it a go.

"I like doing it and it puts you up the ladder with the company. The exposure puts your name out there."

Like Hay, he also practises in the car and watches other auctioneers at work. He auctions once or twice a week. "After a big day, you go home and you can't talk," he said.

NZFL senior Taranaki auctioneer Simon Payne said the two men's success was huge. "It's so great that the company as a whole and Taranaki as a region has a depth of auctioneers."

He said they had completely different styles. Hay was loud and buoyant and Newell was smooth and subtle.

"They've got plenty of cheek. They're telling me I'll be down to writing cards and that I'll have to watch my back - in their dreams."

Each entrant in the competition took part in a preliminary auction and an interview. The top five sold two animals in a mock auction in front of a showday crowd at the Canterbury show.

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They received notice of lots to sell, had access to the breeder and were judged on voice, diction, manner and values.

Judges said it was an even contest and the first three entrants were close for delivery and speech. Limited experience meant their knowledge of rules, terms and conditions of sale was not quite as expected, but the overall standard was still good.

In future, the contest may feature a semifinal in the North Island ahead of the Canterbury show.

- Taranaki Daily News

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