Renewing an old partnership

Allan Cameron And John McElhinney

Rural real estate agents Allan Cameron and John McElhinney like nothing more than chatting about the old days.

It’s fair to say these two have more than most to talk about — back in 1981 they worked together at Gisborne Sheep Farmers Mercantile, and this year have been reunited at PGG Wrightsons . . . which just happens to be Sheep Farmers five mergers on.

Allan got his licence in 1972 at Gisborne Sheep Farmers, and John in 1975 when working for Williams and Kettle.

“I was working for W and K for about five years before heading out on my own as a valuer and farm management consultant for about a year,” says John.

“Then Stephen Dobson (who managed Gisborne Sheep Farmers at the time) knocked on my door and asked me to come and work with Allan.”

In relating the story, the two very quickly fall into remembering people, farms and farmers they have each worked with over the years.

“While we were working jointly at Gisborne Sheep Farmers we called ourselves the rural specialists,” says Allan. “It was the first time it was ever used . . . it’s certainly been used extensively since.”

Allan, who has been in real estate continuously for 44 years, has had a long career with PGG Wrightsons.

Neither man hesitated when approached to renew their old partnership.

Between their days at Gisborne Sheep Farmers and now, John has lived offshore for 20 years and ventured away from real estate in patches.

“I was always going to visit him at Trader Jacks in Rarotonga,” says Allan, “but I just never got around to it.”

The final pull for John to move from the Cook Islands back home was his daughter Jane and her children.

“It is great to be back together like this,” says John. “Back then, we did most of the rural real estate in Poverty Bay and I hope we can do it all over again.”

Allan says they were undoubtedly the “top real estate team in Gisborne at the time”.

“We would look at the real estate statistics each month and tick off what was ours . . . we did well.”

Over the years they have seen some mighty changes. Allan remembers fondly the hey day of when the big farms started changing hands.

“These days there is a bigger demand than there are farms for sale,” he says.

John remembers too the grip of forestry in the 1980s.

“Farming was at its lowest ebb too due to a change of government and many farms had their values cut in half overnight. There was a mass exodus of young farmers who had only just acquired their farms and just couldn’t service the debt,” says Allan. “It was tough times.”

Now, it is quite a different story.

“Values today are stronger than they have ever been, with better returns for both beef and sheep.”

The men have seen farms’ values increase ten- to twelvefold since the 1970s, with land on the fertile Poverty Bay Flats up at least fivefold. “It’s great to be back in the old team . . . I should have come back a whole lot earlier,” says John.

Rural real estate agents Allan Cameron and John McElhinney like nothing more than chatting about the old days.

It’s fair to say these two have more than most to talk about — back in 1981 they worked together at Gisborne Sheep Farmers Mercantile, and this year have been reunited at PGG Wrightsons . . . which just happens to be Sheep Farmers five mergers on.

Allan got his licence in 1972 at Gisborne Sheep Farmers, and John in 1975 when working for Williams and Kettle.

“I was working for W and K for about five years before heading out on my own as a valuer and farm management consultant for about a year,” says John.

“Then Stephen Dobson (who managed Gisborne Sheep Farmers at the time) knocked on my door and asked me to come and work with Allan.”

In relating the story, the two very quickly fall into remembering people, farms and farmers they have each worked with over the years.

“While we were working jointly at Gisborne Sheep Farmers we called ourselves the rural specialists,” says Allan. “It was the first time it was ever used . . . it’s certainly been used extensively since.”

Allan, who has been in real estate continuously for 44 years, has had a long career with PGG Wrightsons.

Neither man hesitated when approached to renew their old partnership.

Between their days at Gisborne Sheep Farmers and now, John has lived offshore for 20 years and ventured away from real estate in patches.

“I was always going to visit him at Trader Jacks in Rarotonga,” says Allan, “but I just never got around to it.”

The final pull for John to move from the Cook Islands back home was his daughter Jane and her children.

“It is great to be back together like this,” says John. “Back then, we did most of the rural real estate in Poverty Bay and I hope we can do it all over again.”

Allan says they were undoubtedly the “top real estate team in Gisborne at the time”.

“We would look at the real estate statistics each month and tick off what was ours . . . we did well.”

Over the years they have seen some mighty changes. Allan remembers fondly the hey day of when the big farms started changing hands.

“These days there is a bigger demand than there are farms for sale,” he says.

John remembers too the grip of forestry in the 1980s.

“Farming was at its lowest ebb too due to a change of government and many farms had their values cut in half overnight. There was a mass exodus of young farmers who had only just acquired their farms and just couldn’t service the debt,” says Allan. “It was tough times.”

Now, it is quite a different story.

“Values today are stronger than they have ever been, with better returns for both beef and sheep.”

The men have seen farms’ values increase ten- to twelvefold since the 1970s, with land on the fertile Poverty Bay Flats up at least fivefold. “It’s great to be back in the old team . . . I should have come back a whole lot earlier,” says John.

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