Stepping back from Summerhill

Cloie, David and Buck

Cloie and David Blackley have officially stepped back as trustees of the Summerhill Charitable Trust which administers the expansive 404 hectare greenspace high in the Papamoa hills.

And the couple says retirement from the trust won't impact public access to their greenspace known to many for its mountain bike trails and easy access to the Papamoa Hills Regional Park.

A special function to celebrate the retirement of the octogenarian couple, was held at their Reid Road property on Thursday. There, they received the Emeritus Trustees honour in acknowledgement of their philanthropy.

Cloie has handed over the chairperson's reins to daughters – Gabrielle Walton. The expectation is there will always be a family member on the Trust.

Gabrielle says her parents' generosity has resulted in the Summerhill property being held in a Charitable Trust.

“This means the property is available and open to the public in perpetuity,” she says.

Summerhill is used by a wide variety of community organisations for recreation and education purposes.

These include Tauranga Search and Rescue, Bay of Plenty Schools, Tauranga Mountain Bike Club, running and orienteering clubs and walking groups. Many of the groups hold regular events at Summerhill, some of which have become regionally and nationally recognised.

Cloie - a retired doctor - and her farmer husband, moved to Reid Road in the 1960s, back in the days when there was only one other family on the road.

They estimate there are now about 30. Over the years they have bought adjacent farms and lifestyle blocks with Summerhill growing to encompass its present 404 hectares (1,000 acres).

David developed the land, farming mostly sheep and cattle, and a fair chunk, about half, is in forestry. David's involvement is still hands on - he's out on the farm every day but says he has swapped the horse for the motorbike.

Establishing the Summerhill Charitable Trust was Cloie's idea. 

“I am frightened by the overwhelming amount of subdivision that goes on and I didn't want to see this farm subdivided any further.”

She wanted a greenspace, but also a working farm and forest to be used for public recreation and education.

“I think we have been very privileged and fortunate to reside here.”

Cloie may be retiring from her Trust but she has plans. They involve the creation of park-like planting of predominantly natives to replace a commercial forestry crop in the mountain biking area.

David, meanwhile, will remain on the DL Blackley Charitable Trust, which he established. Under the trust there's an entity called Summerhill A1Youth Academy. This Trust supports a youth leadership development programme based at Summerhill, from which about 350 young people have graduated over the years.



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Walk around the Mount. Photos: Denis Player.

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