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Pete calls time on successful auction career

THE stock agency scene in Tairāwhiti farewelled a long-time stalwart of the industry yesterday as auctioneer Peter McGrannachan called his final lot at the weekly Matawhero sheep sale.

His retirement ends more than 50 years in the industry for someone described as “a genuine man with a passion for the district”.

Pete played a mean set of bagpipes, played rugby for Poverty Bay and the East Coast, and was a real local character.

He and his wife Jude plan to purchase a home in Christchurch and head there next week to be nearer their grandchildren.

The last of Pete's renowned Bell Road auctions earlier this month drew a big crowd, ending an iconic local event that saw just about everything change hands over 26 years.

He's sold everything from chooks to pigs, ponies, horses, sheep and cattle, cars, utes, tractors, farm machinery, tools, household items, and then there's the llamas, rabbits, donkeys, turkeys, geese, goats and even peacocks.

It was the only sale of its type left in New Zealand.

Pete's good mate Neville Clark was with him right through that final sale.

Clarkie summed Pete up this way.

“He's a very genuine, home-grown man with a passion for the coast.

“He worked in an industry that is sometimes not easy to be in. It is demanding and Pete's hung in there, done the miles and gone the distance.

He has been a big part of the stock agency business in the region.

“But also, with his Bell Road auctions, and his many other involvements in the community with auctioneering, he will certainly be a big loss to the district,” Mr Clark said.

“Pete will have a good retirement with his grandkids in Christchurch, and that's probably as good a prize as you can get for 50 years in the industry.”

The feeling between the two men has been mutual.

“We have shared many good laughs when we are auctioneering together,” Pete said.

“Clarkie's quick wit is second to none.”

Pete started his agency career in Gisborne with Dalgetys in the early 1970s, then moved to Ruatoria for four years, then to Waipukurau for 18 months, then back to Gisborne and has been here ever since, working for a variety of companies.

“The thing I have most enjoyed about being a stock agent is the people.

“They have made my job and I've met so many characters over the years.”

Pete's had a fair bit to do with charity fundraisers over the years, like the Eastland Rescue Helicopter Trust charity auction, Nicks Head fishing competition, Tolaga Bay coastguard, and the Tokomaru Bay wharf fundraiser. He has helped local schools.

“I have loved being a part of that, and the generosity of the community here does not happen anywhere else in New Zealand.”

Pete knows where the lion's share of the credit should go.

“I would not have been able to do what I've done, and be as successful as I have been, without the constant support and love from Jude.

“We are both so proud of our girls Nicola and Amy, and have loved watching them grow up in Gisborne, play hockey and go rowing.

“Jude and I will miss the people of Gisborne.

“But our roots are here, we're born and bred here, so Gisborne and the Coast will always be in our hearts.”

END OF THE LINE: Retiring long-time auctioneer Peter McGrannachan yarded his last stock yesterday at the Matawhero saleyards. He and wife Jude will move to Christchurch to be near their grandchildren. Picture by Murray Robertson