A man who gave life everything he had

Barrie Gordon farewelled on Wednesday afternoon at the Bushmere Arms.

Barrie Gordon farewelled on Wednesday afternoon at the Bushmere Arms.

Barrie Gordon
RESPECT: The weekly Matawhero sheep sale came to a halt yesterday as a minute's silence was observed as a mark of respect for the late Barrie Gordon. It was a place of work for him for more than 60 years as an auctioneer, stock agent and then stock sale reporter. The saleyards was a special place for Barrie and he often called it "The Matawhero Amusement Park." Picture by Liam Clayton

A “LARGER than life identity and one of the noteable characters of the district” — Barrie Gordon — was farewelled in a funeral service on Wednesday afternoon at the Bushmere Arms.

Mr Gordon passed away last Saturday at the age of 88.

He was further described at his farewell as “a man of his time, who truly lived and who did not die wondering ‘what if?’”.

“He was a distinctive and remarkable man, known to a vast range of people,” said Dell Buscke, who led the moving service.

Barrie’s daughter, Tania, said after the service the family would like to thank everyone for their kind wishes and support.

“We will all miss Dad.

“He was our rock and we loved him.”

John Barrie Milburn Gordon was born in Marton in 1927, went to high school in Palmerston North and joined the stock and station industry with Dalgety NZ Ltd as a 16-year-old.

He went on to become the youngest stock auctioneer in New Zealand.

Barrie married the love of his life, Judy Menzies of Patutahi, at Holy Trinity Church in Gisborne in 1952.

The couple moved to Gisborne when Barrie became a stock auctioneer for Williams and Kettle Ltd at the age of 26.

His first auction at the Matawhero saleyards was in May 1954.

“Barrie knew the days when 12-13,000 head of cattle would go through the saleyards over a couple of days,” his service heard.

Farming Mangawhero Station

In the mid-1970s, the Gordon family started to farm Mangawhero Station inland from Tokomaru Bay and did so for 15 years.

Barrie then turned his hand to life insurance for several years and after that picked up the pen to write stock reports for the Gisborne Herald, the Wairoa Star and other publications like the New Zealand Farmers Weekly.

He also presented stock reports on radio for many years.

Polocrosse and jazz musicianship as a drummer were among his other passions.

He shared his love of horses with Judy and their children and often led them on rides along Wainui Beach where the family was based for nearly six decades.

Mr Gordon published several books in his lifetime, among them — Matawhero, elsewhere and other things, The Trouble with Stock Agents and Shut the Bloody Gate.

“They were books that captured the essence of the region.”

Neville Clark, his friend of 23 years, told the service his mate was so passionate about the stock and station industry and all that made it tick.

“Barrie never stopped giving to the farming community and was always ready to give his time.

“He often spoke about how lucky he had been to have found his late wife Judy and how much he loved their family.”

As for his stock reporting, “he made a bloody good job of it,” Mr Clark said.

“Barrie was a decent man with a kind heart and, above all, he was a very good friend.”

Helpful, generous and a good bloke

Renowned Wairoa Angus stud breeder John Bayly described him as a “helpful, generous and good bloke and, as a journalist, he was sensible and accurate”.

“He had real knowledge of the people of the land. He understood farmers. He understood their hope.

“Barrie cared about us and we cared about Barrie.

“Farming has lost a unique person, an ambassador.”

NZ Farmers Weekly managing editor Tony Leggett also spoke and said thousands of people in the farming community around New Zealand know the name — Barrie Gordon.

“They trusted and believed in his well-chosen words because Barrie put his experience as a stock agent and auctioneer to good use as a reporter.

“He was without peer in my view as a stock sale reporter with his gift for communication.”

After the service, Stan Pardoe said of Barrie, who gave him his first droving job in 1963: “He was always a very honest and generous guy”.

Hamish Williams said “Barrie was an outstanding person — a real honest gentleman who understood the integrity of the whole farming industry.

“He did not do what he did for a job. He did it because he loved it.”

Peter Reeves has very fond memories of him. “Barrie was one of life’s real characters who always had time for young people and who never lost touch with his abilities.”

Charlie Dowding said he was a great supporter of all the cattlemen and women of the district.

Former Gisborne Herald rural editor Barbara Scott summed it up when she said in a tribute the other night — “he gave the best he had”.

Barrie is survived by his three children — Brent and his wife Shona, Duncan, and Tania and her husband Ian Banks, and his four grandchildren.

He rests at peace now with his beloved Judy — forever part of the land.

A “LARGER than life identity and one of the noteable characters of the district” — Barrie Gordon — was farewelled in a funeral service on Wednesday afternoon at the Bushmere Arms.

Mr Gordon passed away last Saturday at the age of 88.

He was further described at his farewell as “a man of his time, who truly lived and who did not die wondering ‘what if?’”.

“He was a distinctive and remarkable man, known to a vast range of people,” said Dell Buscke, who led the moving service.

Barrie’s daughter, Tania, said after the service the family would like to thank everyone for their kind wishes and support.

“We will all miss Dad.

“He was our rock and we loved him.”

John Barrie Milburn Gordon was born in Marton in 1927, went to high school in Palmerston North and joined the stock and station industry with Dalgety NZ Ltd as a 16-year-old.

He went on to become the youngest stock auctioneer in New Zealand.

Barrie married the love of his life, Judy Menzies of Patutahi, at Holy Trinity Church in Gisborne in 1952.

The couple moved to Gisborne when Barrie became a stock auctioneer for Williams and Kettle Ltd at the age of 26.

His first auction at the Matawhero saleyards was in May 1954.

“Barrie knew the days when 12-13,000 head of cattle would go through the saleyards over a couple of days,” his service heard.

Farming Mangawhero Station

In the mid-1970s, the Gordon family started to farm Mangawhero Station inland from Tokomaru Bay and did so for 15 years.

Barrie then turned his hand to life insurance for several years and after that picked up the pen to write stock reports for the Gisborne Herald, the Wairoa Star and other publications like the New Zealand Farmers Weekly.

He also presented stock reports on radio for many years.

Polocrosse and jazz musicianship as a drummer were among his other passions.

He shared his love of horses with Judy and their children and often led them on rides along Wainui Beach where the family was based for nearly six decades.

Mr Gordon published several books in his lifetime, among them — Matawhero, elsewhere and other things, The Trouble with Stock Agents and Shut the Bloody Gate.

“They were books that captured the essence of the region.”

Neville Clark, his friend of 23 years, told the service his mate was so passionate about the stock and station industry and all that made it tick.

“Barrie never stopped giving to the farming community and was always ready to give his time.

“He often spoke about how lucky he had been to have found his late wife Judy and how much he loved their family.”

As for his stock reporting, “he made a bloody good job of it,” Mr Clark said.

“Barrie was a decent man with a kind heart and, above all, he was a very good friend.”

Helpful, generous and a good bloke

Renowned Wairoa Angus stud breeder John Bayly described him as a “helpful, generous and good bloke and, as a journalist, he was sensible and accurate”.

“He had real knowledge of the people of the land. He understood farmers. He understood their hope.

“Barrie cared about us and we cared about Barrie.

“Farming has lost a unique person, an ambassador.”

NZ Farmers Weekly managing editor Tony Leggett also spoke and said thousands of people in the farming community around New Zealand know the name — Barrie Gordon.

“They trusted and believed in his well-chosen words because Barrie put his experience as a stock agent and auctioneer to good use as a reporter.

“He was without peer in my view as a stock sale reporter with his gift for communication.”

After the service, Stan Pardoe said of Barrie, who gave him his first droving job in 1963: “He was always a very honest and generous guy”.

Hamish Williams said “Barrie was an outstanding person — a real honest gentleman who understood the integrity of the whole farming industry.

“He did not do what he did for a job. He did it because he loved it.”

Peter Reeves has very fond memories of him. “Barrie was one of life’s real characters who always had time for young people and who never lost touch with his abilities.”

Charlie Dowding said he was a great supporter of all the cattlemen and women of the district.

Former Gisborne Herald rural editor Barbara Scott summed it up when she said in a tribute the other night — “he gave the best he had”.

Barrie is survived by his three children — Brent and his wife Shona, Duncan, and Tania and her husband Ian Banks, and his four grandchildren.

He rests at peace now with his beloved Judy — forever part of the land.

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