New Zealand's property valuation profession lost a doyen with the passing on 25 September 2016 of Thomas (Tom) Ian Marks, a graduate of Lincoln College and a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Valuers.
Tom's reputation rested on three pillars - a first career with the Valuation Department in positions throughout New Zealand; a second career as a lecturer in Valuation at Lincoln College teaching and mentoring generations of future practitioners over a span of 18 years; and a third career in private practice and acting as an expert witness in high profile legal hearings.
Regarding the latter, the highest accolade was paid to Tom in a eulogy by High Court Justice Nicholas Davidson, who led the legal team that Tom played a pivotal part in to successfully challenge the Crown's Pastoral Lease rental review methodology for the Forest Range and Minaret Station high country properties.
Tom was, in my view, the valuer who absolutely caught the spirit of the legislation and how it should be interpreted, which directed that no rent should be based on the amenity or scenic and other values of land of this kind, but rather on the pastoral opportunity which it provided.
There were many we spoke with who wavered, were not certain, or felt there was an argument to the contrary. But Tom knew what the answer should be, as a valuer, because he understood the law which applied. His knowledge in that regard, and also of the pastoral setting and what it meant in practice, was absolute, unwavering, and he would tolerate no denting of that argument or concession.
Most of us are ephemeral and apart from family we disappear into the mists of time very quickly. Tom was one of those who will not. For his profession, for those who were lucky enough to be taught by him and work with him, he will remain an example of a true professional, a legend in his own right,â said Justice Davidson.
Tom's knowledge of pastoral and other rural settings can be traced back to the seminal education he received as a Rural Field Cadet at Lincoln College, the field placements on different farm types that the course entailed, and his subsequent Valuation Department employment in both the North and South islands.
Tom was born in Raetihi on 22 November 1936 and attended Marton District High School 1950-1952 and Wellington College in 1953. At Wellington College he was a member of the 1st XV and sport was to be an integral part of his life right through into retirement.
From Wellington College he was selected for the elite Rural Field Cadet Scheme at Lincoln College and started it in 1954.
Toms experiences as a Rural Field cadet and later as a registered valuer are recorded in the book Herbies Boys: A History of the Rural Field Cadet Scheme 1941-1971 published in 2016 and he was an enthusiastic member of the committee which initiated the book. (Limited copies still available through Lincoln Universitys Alumni and Development Office, contact Anisha.Thomas @ Lincoln.ac.nz).
The RFCs were trained for subsequent placement in government departments related to the land and agriculture. Toms first job after graduating with the coveted Diploma in Valuation and Farm Management in 1958 was with the Valuation Department in Wellington. Subsequent postings took him to Masterton, Wanganui, Nelson (where he met future wife Neroli), Gisborne and finally Hamilton, where he was Senior Valuer.
While in Hamilton Tom was approached to apply for a lecturing position at Lincoln College on the retirement of his old teacher, the well-known and respected Monty Cooke. Tom was accepted and in 1969 he started an 18-year career at Lincoln lecturing in Valuation as part of the Farm Management and Rural Valuation Department, initially under the guidance of Ralph Frizzell. While a staff member he completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Commerce degree, majoring in Production Economics and Econometrics.
Tom was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1973 and retired from Lincoln in 1987. He then worked as a Consultant for international bankers Schroders Australia Ltd who were employed by the New Zealand Treasury to calculate the value of Crown Land being corporatised under LandCorp, and joined Christchurch company Simes Valuation at the same time. Tom later worked as a Consultant/Valuer for Ernst and Young, Crighton Anderson, and then Property Advisory Ltd during his semi-retirement.
Toms involvement in the Minaret Station legal case of 2008-2009 was his professional swansong and retirement followed.
Sport was an abiding passion throughout Toms life. He was a member of the Lincoln College 1st XV in his student days and played representative rugby for several provincial rugby unions and sub-unions including Tolaga Bay, Opotiki and Wairarapa. In his younger years he played representative level cricket for Thames Valley, including selection for a Hawke Cup match, and later in Canterbury he played for St Albans in Christchurch. After moving to West Melton in 1975 he played cricket for the Greendale Club and at representative level for Malvern sub-union. Tom retired from cricket in his mid-50s and happily played bowls and golf over the next 15-plus years until rheumatoid arthritis slowed him up.
Tom is survived by wife Neroli and children Craig and Sara.
The family affectionately farewelled Tom by saying, youve analysed your last sale, bowled your last over and played with a straight bat till the end. Now try to value Heaven