Earl Gordon 1946-2020

Prepared by Graeme Kircaldie in collaboration with Earl Gordon's family

Earl Gordon died on 6 June 2020 after an illness that he had battled courageously, pushing himself to complete his role with the Wellington Division of the Land Valuation Tribunal in a series of ground rental dispute hearings.

He has been justifiably described as one of the unsung heroes of the Valuation professional's having spent almost 40 years selflessly serving on the Executive and Professional Practice Committees of NZIV; concurrently on the board of Land Professional's Mutual Society, a risk management and indemnity insurance service for land surveyors and valuers, until 2019; also representing the NZIV on the Executive of the Institute of Plant and Machinery Valuers, which awarded him Honorary Membership in 1994.

Those commitments were especially outstanding because, for most of that phase, Earl was a sole practitioner, supported by his wife Adrienne who carried out secretarial services for the business.

Earl's entire working life as an urban valuer was spent in Wellington, where he has been a well-respected practitioner with a diverse range of clients. 

Born in Paraparaumu, his initial work experience was gained in the late 1960s with Jack Gellatly at JH Bethune & Co and at the Northern Building Society, later moving to the Valuation Department, completing the NZIV Urban Professional Exams in 1970, followed by Registration, and advancement to Associate in 1971.  By that stage he had moved to Rolle Pyne & Co., one of the original independent Wellington valuation practices, and later in the decade joined Chris Dentice and Graeme Kirkcaldie in a partnership that ran through to 1985.  From then on, Earl practised on his own.

In about 1988 the NZIV Council, recognising the need for a specialist group to receive inquiries and complaints, and to administer members disciplinary processes in conjunction with the Valuer's Registration Board, established the Professional Practices Committee (PPC) with Earl as its Chairman, a position he held until retiring in late 2017. 

Under his stewardship that committee considered more than 1000 formal complaint matters and countless informal inquiries from members of the public, provided advice about a raft of issues, and gave support to beleaguered valuation practitioners.  He chaired the monthly PPC audio conference meetings, pre-circulating case files, in an efficient but involving manner and with an amazing ability to recall specific circumstances, and valuer personalities - some of whom were logged with the PPC record system more than once.

Earl was advanced to Fellow of the NZIV in 2005 in recognition of his services to the profession; presented with the John M Harcourt Memorial Award in 2012; and in 2018 made a Life Member of the Institute in acknowledgement of his outstanding contributions and personal dedication.

He was also an Associate Member of REINZ from 1968, and a Fellow of PINZ from 2005.

Aside from his business and professional interests Earl had been an enthusiastic participant in camping and boating, regularly holidaying at Taupo's Motutere Point and more recently at Kinloch, with family and friends.  He helped develop an international competition level BMX track in Wellington, and served on the national body of that sport for a time.  His travels to Australia, Europe, and North America several times were obvious highlights; and he was also a keen supporter of many sports, and in particular Wellington and All Black rugby.

Earl owned an eclectic array of high-performance cars through the years, and they were always immaculately maintained.  His dream to lap the Nuremburg Circuit in 2017 did not, unfortunately, materialise.

He was a mild-mannered person with a good sense of humour; empathised with the disadvantaged members of society; was interested in fine art and music; had a flair for good clothes; and enjoyed food and wine, especially in the company of his revered friend, the late Iain Gribble, and a small cohort of valuers.

Earl Gordon is survived by Adrienne to whom he was married for 51 years, son Benjamin a rural station manager and agricultural contractor based in Taupo, daughter Philippa a lawyer now assisting at Marsden pre-school in Wellington, and five grandchildren.

Rest in Peace Earl, and thank you for your outstanding contributions.