By LUCY WORMALD
For the second year running, Bayleys national auction manager Conor Patton’s taken out the LVD World Auctioneering Championships crown.
After three days in Queenstown last week vying to be best at under-the-hammer sales, Patton says he’s ‘‘pleasantly surprised’’ to be named world champ in the open division final on Tuesday night.
‘‘The calibre of all the finalists was pretty high, I was a surprised but willing winner and it was an exciting few days for sure,’’ he says.
Calls, quick wit and mathematical mastery were all under evaluation at the event, held at
Rydges Lakeland Resort, where more than 40 auctioneers from across Australasia went head-to-head, marrying charisma with impressive vocabulary and attention to detail under tough bidding sequences.
‘‘It’s a really good opportunity to put yourself under the microscope and test yourself in challenging conditions so that you know when you hit the real time that you’re match-fit and you do have the experience for whatever anybody throws at you,’’ Patton says.
Competitor and three-time Harcourts National Auction champ Aaron Davis, who’s been calling auctions for more than a decade, says the event’s all about salesmanship, with a dash of showmanship.
“There’s always that little bit of that peacock, that show pony, in some of us with auctioneering and we want to be the centre of attention.”
But the pressure’s real.
“It’s always easy when you public speak when you know what you’re going to say, but when you’re in a room full of other auctioneers and they’re throwing funny bids at you, like one-sixteenth of a million dollars, they’re asking you questions … putting you on the spot,” he says.
Real Estate Institute of New Zealand chair and chief judge Mark Sumich, who’s been
involved in the competitive calling since 1996, says nabbing the title of world champion is ‘‘pretty powerful stuff’’, particularly heading into next month’s REINZ national champs and the Australian Real Estate Institute’s event in October.
‘‘It’s arguably the only pure auctioneering event that takes place, and the future of it is
strong still — it’s a growing business and a part of the way that property is sold in NZ.’’
The championships also saw Harcourts Takapuna’s Travers Smyth win the senior event and Sandra O’Brien, from Harcourts Gold Papanui, triumph in the novice division.