Auction houses are on the decline around New Zealand, but not in Hawke's Bay where they are thriving.

"It is definitely part of the lifestyle of Hawke's Bay," Kauri House Auctions owner Quentin de Groot said.

"In part it is one of the reasons that we came here - not particularly to come to auctions and end up buying an auction business - but to enjoy the lifestyle."

General goods are the weekly mainstay of Kauri House Auctions in Havelock North and Maidens and Fosters Auctioneers in Napier, with antique and collectable auctions less frequent.

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"We have had office cleanouts, we have had factories, cafes - you name it - right through to rest homes and full house lots," Mr de Groot said.

"Unfortunately, a lot of deceased estates come through us which is a little bit sad when you go through some of the things, but generally family have taken their things, we sort through the rest."

The internet is now working to the advantage of auction houses, Maidens and Fosters Auctioneers owner Todd Foster said.

"People who want to sell items are finding now that selling on the internet is all very good if you have the time and maybe a little bit of expertise. But if you don't know anything about it or have more important things to do with your time, then selling at auction is a very good option - a one stop shop."

"We take care of all the work for the vendor. You sit back and we put the money in your bank."

He said household chattels were increasingly becoming disposable "but there is still a clientele that is looking for pieces that have better quality - maybe more expensive in their time - but are worth recycling.

"That's the sort of thing we make a living out of but the internet has now come back, possibly to help us, because it does enable clients to make absentee bids, for us to share photographs of items with a client who's not in town."

This week Maidens & Fosters has three auctions. The general goods auction on Wednesday, antiques auction on Thursday and an onsite liquidation sale of Shift Contractors' plant and machinery.

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