About Duke and Cooke

When Duke met Cooke

Charles Duke
Peter Cooke

Valuing Nelson properties since 1944

Dunedin born, Charles Duke started his career as an architect in 1914. After he returned from the war, he became a qualified valuer in 1944 working in Nelson. In 1964, at age 76, Charles formed a partnership with Peter Cooke and Duke & Cooke was born.

Former ownership

From Duke & Cooke’s original formation as a partnership in 1964, to its transition to a company in 1991, the past ownership of Duke & Cooke has included Charles Duke, Peter Cooke, Lou Kolff, and Peter Noonan.


Barry Rowe, Dick Bennison, Simon Charles and Murray Lauchlan

Duke & Cooke is now led by Barry Rowe (L) , Dick Bennison (CL), Simon Charles (CR) and Murray Lauchlan (R). Under their directorship, the company has become a Quality Assured valuation business through the Property Institute of New Zealand.

In 2012, Duke & Cooke became a member of ValGroup, a collective of valuation companies spread throughout New Zealand focused on growing business opportunities and advancing best business practices. Dick Bennison is now on the management board of ValGroup and is keen to help it develop further.

Meet the team

Barry Rowe

Barry Rowe

Director and Residential Team Leader

Barry is a Registered Valuer who specialises in residential and rural lifestyle properties.  He has 30 years' experience and maintains a detailed knowledge of current values and trends within these markets. Outside of work Barry's interests include football administration and is a team member of the local Urban Search and Rescue of Civil Defence.

Dick Bennison

Director and Rural Team Leader

Dick is a Registered Valuer and  our rural specialist with more than 30 years' experience in valuing all manner of rural property in the Nelson district. He thrives on sharing his knowledge and experience with his clients. Outside interests include open water swimming, tramping and family.

Murray Lauchlan

Murray Lauchlan

Director and Commercial Team Leader

Murray, a Registered Valuer with more than 30 years' experience, specialises in valuing commercial property in Nelson. He enjoys sharing his knowledge with his clients to assist them in their asset management and their future growth strategies. Outside of work Murray's interests are golf and mountain biking.

Simon Charles

Simon Charles

Director and Commercial Valuer

Simon is a Registered Valuer who has specialised in commercial property valuation since 2004. Simon has undertaken many valuation assignments throughout New Zealand, the Middle East, Europe and the UK. He joined Duke & Cooke in 2011 and then became a Director in 2017.  Outside of work Simon’s interests include golf and share market investing.

Jaimee Ryan

Jaimee Ryan

Office Administrator

03 548 9104


Nelson Born and bred

Duke & Cooke began trading in 1964 from first floor offices on Trafalgar Street.  Our business has come a long way since then, and we are still firmly in the heart of Nelson, based at 42 Halifax Street.

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