Barrie Moss obituary

Barrie Moss, one of the pioneers and stalwarts of the longrun roofing industry in this country, and lifetime member of the MRM, passed away earlier this year. 

Born in 1929 in Gisborne and schooled at Gisborne Boys High School, Barrie  started as a plumbing apprentice for Oldings before settting up his own business in 1952. 

Barrie’s son Roger Moss says that in his early years he did a lot of work up the East Coast, especially for the Mangatu Blocks farms and the Department of Education . “He would leave on a Monday and come back two weeks later,” says Roger. “Sometimes he would have to wait for the tides to come right.” 

With his plumbing business well established, Barrie got into roll forming roofing in 1965, buying his first rollformer from Hayes engineering and many more over the years. 

As Barry Bunting recalls, “Barrie (‘BJ’) had been at the forefront of roll forming in New Zealand right from the start. His machine was commissioned only shortly after the late Owen Marshall’s machine in Invercargill, which was the first. 

“There was a bond forged by the early roll formers - one with the other - as they got to grips with the idiosyncrasies of their machines and the steel being produced and shipped to them by NZ Steel.” 

Brian Cosgrove recalls those early days: “My first introduction to Barrie Moss was back in 1966 with myself as a 24-year-old and Barrie in his mid- to late-30s when the Corrugated Iron Manufacturers Association was being formed. Ted Howarth, of Dimond Industries Ltd, in Wellington had invited all recent purchasers of longrun corrugated iron machines and any other current manufacturers with machines to a meeting at the Shaw Saville Lodge in Kilbirnie, Wellington later known as the White Heron Lodge.  The machines except one had all been manufactured from Hayes Engineering Ltd in Rotorua. These machines were to set a new system in metal roofing manufacturing in this country and in fact the world.” 

Brian adds, “Barrie was an inaugural member of the Corrugated Iron Manufacturers Association, which had around 12 founding members. He was always a strong supporter of the Association and attended the AGMs each year right through until the last five years or so of his life. 

“Barrie was a very valued member of our Association, well supported by his lovely wife Jill and son Roger, who also attended the conferences.” 

Duncan Shand says he first met Barrie when working as a sales rep for Metalcraft in Palmerston North. 

“Later, when I started Hawke’s Bay Longrun in Napier [1970], we kept in touch. Barrie became a client when we sold him L E Ridging as he did not have room for a ridging machine in his already packed plumbing and roofing workshop. It took Barrie about five years to change from Imperial to Metric but he did eventually start ordering the ridging by the metre!” 

In 1974 Barrie upgraded his eight corrugation rollformer to a Dimondek 200 machine, which was made by Ted Howarth & Co. 

Dave Gellatly says Barrie became a great friend over the years and will be missed by all in the industry. 

 “Barrie was one of our industry pioneers who I first met some 30-plus years ago when I had just started in roll forming,” Dave says. “His knowledge and wisdom he freely gave and this was the start of a great relationship with BJ Moss Ltd that continues to this day.” 

Gordon Taylor, who first met Barrie at a conference in 1970 at the White Heron Lodge in Wellington, says he was fiercely independent but “always prepared to help fellow roll formers”. 

“If you were short of coil, he would lend it to you,” Gordon says.“He was very close to fellow independents, and always prepared to try new ideas.” 

Barry Bunting says he first visited Gisborne and Barrie Moss while employed by NZ Steel as their Central Region Manager out of Wellington in 1985. 

“BJ  Moss was a client of some of the then mill agents, who were the equivalent of today’s Sales and Marketing team at New Zealand Steel. Regular meetings at New Zealand Steel for the mill agents of which there were four at the time. - A M Satterthwaites, Joseph Nathan, Lysaghts and my employer of the time Richard Thomas & Baldwin - often had a rollformer or two in the vicinity. Barrie was one who often ‘dropped in’ at Glenbrook in the early days. 

“Having New Zealand Steel virtually on their doorstep was encouragement enough to get BJ and his ‘cronies’ like Gordon Taylor (Tauranga) and Gary Irwin (Auckland) to visit the mill and talk to the people who influenced their deliveries and quality. While the ‘mill agents’ were supposedly the first point of contact for a roll former with the mill, these lines of demarcation were often (understandably) abused. Mainly due to delayed shipments and the roll formers’ need to get steel ‘on the road’. Friends in high places were as valuable as good stock way back then.”  

Brian Cosgrove says Barrie’s influence on and input into the industry will be missed. 

“Barrie was treasured for his humour and honesty throughout his years in business especially in our Roofing Manufacturing Association,” Brian says. “Barrie always had a smile on his face and was like an unelected patron of the Association who always was very well respected. His opinions and statements at meetings were well received because we all knew he spoke from experience and from the heart, with facts, not a lot of hot air.” 

Son Roger Moss says the heyday of his father’s business was probably the 1970s when he employed 35 staff. In recent years, the business has moved away from plumbing and gone more into manufacturing. 

Roger says his father was also behind building projects and subdivisions around Gisborne. He built spec houses and was involved in the construction of packhouses and coolstores as well as buildings for government departments, banks and retailers in the city.   

One of his subdivisions of 130 lots has streets named after his wife, children and grandchildren. 

Barrie and Barry Bunting also shared a common interest in horse racing.  

“He raced horses for his daughter Joanne and was her patron at her stable,” Barry says. “Barrie used to joke that the horses were keeping him poor but were keeping young Joanne happy.” 

“He raced and won several important races but it made no difference to ‘BJ’. Win, lose or draw his smile was the same and his attitude to his competition was always gracious and sympathetic – when he was on the winning side.” 

Barrie, who died in March of this year, is survived by his wife Jill, five children and nine grandchildren.