Celebrating a century

Barfoot & Thompson marks 100-year milestone

Auckland’s largest family-owned real estate company, Barfoot & Thompson, is marking its 100th year in business in 2023, celebrating a century of growth in its business, team and communities.

Since being founded in March 1923, when the Barfoot name first appeared above a small, one-person land agency office in Newmarket, the business has been nurtured by the Barfoot and Thompson families for four generations and counting. 

Through times of challenge and progress, it has become one of the country’s foremost real estate agencies, and its work is regularly recognised on the international awards stage.

Today, Barfoot & Thompson is estimated to sell one in every three residential homes in Auckland and oversees more than 20,000 rental properties. The company also boasts specialist divisions in body corporate and large project management, as well as expanding operations in Northland, the Bay of Plenty and the Waikato.

Telling the story of the agency’s earliest days at a team celebration in Auckland over the weekend, Managing Director Peter Thompson retraced the company’s early years and the building blocks of success that still guide it today.

“Our point of difference to many others is that, as we grew, our two founding families not only remained the owners but also the managers,” he recounted. However, he was quick to point out that the 100-year story was about more than just two families or their business principles.

“While the Barfoot and Thompson families are central to our company narrative, celebrating our centennial year is about recognising all of our people, and the communities we live and work in.

“A strong family culture has been part of our business since the beginning, and marking this milestone also helps us reflect on the personal and professional contributions that thousands of individuals have made.

“Over the past 100 years, our people have weathered wars, depressions and economic shocks, social revolutions, and burgeoning economic and population growth; all challenges they’ve met with dedication, courage and lots of hard work. 

“Our neighbourhoods and communities are also at the heart of our story. From the one-on-one impact of helping someone find a new place to call home, to being involved in some of the city’s biggest development projects – it’s a privilege to do the work we do. 

“And perhaps most importantly, we have always loved where we live and work, and take great pride in giving back – whether it is to a cultural event, social cause, the arts or sporting activity.”

He said that while others may see Barfoot & Thompson as a large corporate, the company saw themselves more as a cluster of small branch businesses that are firmly community focused.

“We are all working together to a common culture and common values – so no matter how big or small the cause we are supporting is, we all play a role.

For example, combined efforts by the company over the past two decades have helped raise more than $6million for the Starship Foundation – supporting projects such as vital ward renovations and world-leading specialist equipment. Most recently, Barfoot & Thompson’s support helped fund the new Whitinga ora pēpi unit, designed to support parents with babies who require a high level of support.

“Together, the company and its branches have also supported some of our favourite sporting teams and events, from the Auckland Blues and Northern Mystics, to the Auckland Marathon and Master Games, to countless local sports teams.”

The company has also sponsored numerous cultural events such as the Auckland Lantern Festival and Diwali celebrations, and arts projects, including public installations like the Michael Parekōwhai designed "Lighthouse" situated on the end of Queens Wharf. 

Most recently, it was announced as a sponsor of Auckland Zoo’s centenary exhibition and as the principal partner of the Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund (AZCF) Small Grants programme – helping threatened wildlife here in Aotearoa and around the world.

Looking ahead, Mr Thompson says the company will continue to be guided by its founding principles of family ownership, creating a strong family culture, and focusing on customer satisfaction as it begins to tackle the next 100 years.  

“This celebration is very much a milestone along the way. As our business and the communities we operate in continue to grow and change at a rapid pace, we look forward to continuing to serve, adapt and grow as we make our way to the 150th celebration.”