PGG Wrightson stalwart Bruce Thomson has retired after 48 years of service in South Canterbury.
Thomson, a livestock representative, started as an office boy at the National Mortgage Agency in 1971 before its merger with stock and station agency Wright Stephenson.
After working through most of the office divisions, Thomson moved to Temuka as an agent in 1975 and then on to Fairlie in 1979 — where he has remained ever since.
"I decided to stay in Fairlie because it was such a good place to live. I remember when the boss told me he would send me here. In those days stock agents moved around quite a bit and he told me it would only be for three years and I would be moved on."
Those three years went by and, when his boss said he would send Thomson to the North Island for auctioneering, he replied swiftly "No thanks, I am staying right where I am."
Thomson loved what he was doing and had no intention of climbing the ladder.
He had seen many changes in his time, mostly in mergers and technology advancements.
"Once upon a time there were the four firms of Wright Stephenson, National Mortgage Association, Dalgety New Zealand and PGG and now they basically all come under the same one. I am completely pulling the plug on my involvement and said to the boss as a joke last week that I could come back as a consultant for $1000 a day,'' he laughed.
"So I do not think I will be getting a lot of work from them."
Thomson was not computer savvy and did not wish to be.
"It is a young man's game now with selling more online, time to move on and retire. I am happy."
His advice for those coming through the ranks was to talk to clients and be punctual.
"I hate people who are late, so do not do that. I can remember the Tekapo sale heyday when merinos were making $250 a head which was way ahead of any other stock at that time, a highlight for sure."
A keen golfer, he was looking forward to having time to travel around the country with his wife.
"My wife and I will travel around the country. I saw most of the North Island when I was playing rugby for South Canterbury so many years ago, but there is still much to be seen. Might take up fishing again. Who knows?"