A gentleman and believer in doing the right thing

Basil Edwin Brooker

11 April 1941 – 30 March 2021


Moore Markhams Hawkes Bay has been saddened recently by the passing of Basil Brooker, a long-standing leader of the firm and “absolute rock” for years.

An unashamed believer in ‘old school’ and being very particular in doing the right thing in the right way, Basil remained Mr Brooker to many of the firm’s employees long after his fellow directors gave up on honorifics.
Then later although not knighted, after Basil received a Queen’s Service Medal for his contribution to music (his great passion) in 2017, he was chuffed to be called Sir Basil by some of his Hastings team.

Basil operated his career, and his life, with a sense of fairness, caring and high integrity. He was a hard worker and did not shirk from being firm, even tough, when needed, and for this he was respected and well-liked by his clients, colleagues, and staff alike.

A Wellington College Old Boy, Basil was an accountant for 50 years. He joined the forerunner to Moore Markhams in 1970, from the electrical wholesaling firm of J G Seton & Co. He became a partner five years later.

In 2000, he remained associated with Markhams, though operating independently as Hawke’s Bay Audit, which he retired from in 2012, selling to audit partners from our Wellington sister audit firm.  

With his 37 years of institutional history and knowledge, Basil was a valued sounding board and mentor for those coming after him. Although seemingly quiet, Basil had a genuine interest in people and for many years was staff partner.

He had very good technical and tax knowledge and was always on hand and generous with his time and ear to discuss tricky issues.

Basil served as convenor of several national Continuing Education conferences for the Markhams group, hosting annual professional development conferences around the country. He particularly enjoyed the role of Sheriff at these events, where his sense of humour was evident.

Basil loved a party and was sociable, always ready to have a chat with clients before getting into the reason for their meeting. He was meticulous and believed in paying particular attention and covering all bases for his clients.

He firmly championed that there is more to life than work and his out of office loves were his family – he was father to three and Grandpa to six children; choral music – he was a chorister for 70 years, many of these at St John’s Cathedral in Napier; and the Linden Singers of Hawke’s Bay, which he founded as the Hastings Madrigal Singers in 1971.

It was his contribution to music in Hawke’s Bay that saw him honoured with a Civic Award by the Hastings District Council and then receiving a QSM in the New Year Honours list in 2017.

Basil was conductor, chairman and leading organiser for the choir of 30 or so and over the 50 years, he organised more than 90 different innovative musical programmes and more than 150 concerts, as well as performances on Radio New Zealand and for the ‘Praise Be' television programme, tours to other towns and cities, and guest artists.

We’re sure that Basil took great delight in attending his farewell concert with the Linden Singers before his death.

Another of his enthusiasms was cricket and Basil, with his attention to detail and sense of fairness, moved from playing to umpiring premier games around the region, which he really enjoyed.

His quiet determination was evident on the field, and although mild-mannered, Basil stood up for himself, backed his decisions and took no nonsense. He remained tough but fair.

Rest in peace, Basil – a sage, wise counsel.

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Photo caption: Basil Brooker receiving his MBE for Services to Music from Governor-General Patsy Reddy in 2017.