Hall of Fame Laureate – 2011 Horowhenua – Collis Blake

 

Collis Blake

Collis Blake’s family have lived and worked in the rural areas of Horowhenua for several generations after his forebears settled in New Zealand in the early 1840s. In early 1960s Collis’father bought farmland in Manakau. His mother’s family operated a sawmill in Ohau.

Educated at Wellington Boy’s College, Collis and Helen, his wife of more than 50 years, have two grown daughters. Collis started his career farming in Manakau and over the years added to his farm with land in Ohau and Koputaroa. He is proud that over the years his returns from beef farming have been greater than the industry average. Collis gained a strong national profile for his leadership efforts to support stressed farmers in the days of forced mortgagee farm sales. He also turned his hand to commercial property investment.

A long term Rotarian, Collis has received a number of prestigious Rotary and other community awards.

Helen and Collis are proud that they have been able to consistently and quietly support many community initiatives Undoubtedly their finest achievement was the transformation of the former Levin School site on State Highway One into today’s magnificent Adventure Park. This would never have happened without their personal direction and leadership, considerable personal risk, and substantial financial support. Today it is one of the jewels in Levin’s crown.

Collis and Helen focus their community involvement upon Children’s needs. They know and are happy that not many people are aware of the scope of their support . The provision of a ‘Quiet (Parents) Lounge and Wellington’s Ronald McDonald House is one recent example. They have also purchased a house immediately next to Waiopehu College for the College to use as a medical Centre for its students, and continue to support the cost of a part-time doctor at the centre. That venture has been so successful that they are now funding a two room, purpose built annex for the overflow activities such as a quit-smoking programme for pupils.

As Helen modestly states, “Well, it was needed. Our interest is in the welfare of children.”