val barfoot

Valentine Barfoot (Val)

kelland barfoot

Kelland Barfoot


Val Barfoot

Born on Valentine's Day in 1897, Val Barfoot was the son of a London cloth merchant, whose firm, H. S. Barfoot and Sons, dated back to 1860. Unlike his father, Val did not hanker after a career in the family cloth business. After leaving school he remained only a short period in the firm before joining the army to serve as an artillery officer on the Western Front in the First World War. When the war ended in 1918, he returned to continue his formal education, graduating from Bristol University in 1921 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering For health reasons the family emigrated to New Zealand in 1922. Unable to find engineering work, Val purchased a small land agency business in 1923.

As the business grew, Val Barfoot complemented his partners, Kelland Barfoot and Maurice Thompson, with his in-depth knowledge of real estate practice and property values. In addition, he applied his analytical mind to the problems of systemisation and control, working out preferable locations for branch offices and associated management systems. After fifty years in the real estate industry he retired in 1973, succeeded in the business by his two sons, Garth and Chris. Val Barfoot died in 1987.

Kelland Barfoot

Kelland Barfoot was born in 1895. Like his brother, Val, Kelland also saw action in the First World War, serving in the Royal Flying Corps. When the rest of the family immigrated to New Zealand in 1922, Kelland continued to work in a small boat building business in Dorset. However, receiving numerous encouragements from his brother about prospects in New Zealand, he finally acquiesced, arriving with his wife and daughter in December 1924. Joining Val in his Newmarket land agency, the firmÕs name was changed from V. H. Barfoot to Barfoot Brothers.

A compassionate man, Kelland specialised in the rental side of the business and was known for his fair-dealing with both tenants and landlords during the difficult years of the Great Depression. He died in 1950 aged 55, having suffered from diabetes for some time.

Maurice Thompson

The son of a military officer, Maurice Thompson was born in Ireland in 1907. After settling in New Zealand in the 1920s, Maurice worked as a salesman for Wright Stephenson, later as a policeman, before joining the fledgling firm of Barfoot Bros. in 1934. Recognised for his dynamic manner and astute judge of character, he was made a partner in 1940. While the Barfoot Bros handled the operational side of the business, Maurice determinedly trained and led the team of branch managers who were crucial to the firm's expansion and success in the Post-War period. With his flamboyant nature and strong Irish personality, Thompson displayed an effective capacity for handling people and was a natural leader. He could choose and galvanise a team, invite their participation, and deftly handle disputes with his keen sense of fair play. An avid reader, he adapted clippings from magazines, newspapers, and books to inspire his managers in the weekly briefings at head office, giving them practical and direct advice. He died in 1968.

Easing the transition to the new pay system, the partners advanced £10 per week up to a maximum of £50, against future commission. It was not long before the new system enabled staff to earn higher salaries, with additional benefits in motivation and improved customer service. To encourage the development of a loyal and experienced cadre of branch managers, they were included in a branch profit-sharing scheme. Today, the commission system of remuneration for real estate agents is uniformly adopted.

maurice thompson

Maurice Thompson

© The University of Auckland Business School