Al­ley and Home­wood Trust are re­mem­bered

Te Puke Times - - News -

Ge­orge Al­ley and the Home­wood Trust de­serve to be re­mem­bered in Te Puke for their phi­lan­thropic work, es­pe­cially for the re­turned ser­vice peo­ple of World War II, says lo­cal his­to­rian Chris­tine Clement.

Ge­orge Al­ley even­tu­ally found his way to Te Puke, but was born near Napier. The fam­ily moved to Hiku­taia, near Thames, in the 1870s.

He and his broth­ers be­came en­tre­pre­neur­ial farm­ers and stock buy­ers, and Ge­orge even­tu­ally set­tled in Katikati on the Home­wood prop­erty still stand­ing on Pukekura Rd.

Here he do­nated land for the Church of Eng­land, the Ma­sonic Lodge, bowl­ing greens, cro­quet and ten­nis court as well as build­ing low-rental hous­ing.

In 1911 he de­vel­oped a 140-acre sub­di­vi­sion at Te Puke bounded by Boucher Ave, Glen Ter­race and Cameron Rd, in­clud­ing Tui and Moe­hau streets.

Ge­orge had seen how many World War I soldiers had failed on their re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion blocks and wanted men to go on the land equipped with prac­ti­cal knowl­edge.

In 1942 the Home­wood Trust was es­tab­lished with farm prop­er­ties to­talling 2300 acres (930ha), and sev­eral life in­sur­ance poli­cies.

The farms in the Te Puke district were on No 2 Rd at Man­ga­toi, No 2 Rd op­po­site Dud­ley Ver­coe Drive, No 2 Rd at Otaikaka, Mark Rd, Brown Rd (now marked by Home­wood Drive), Al­ley Rd at Ma­noeka, Wa­iari Farm (be­tween the Wa­iari Stream/te Matai Rd), and Quarry Rd. He also had var­i­ous smaller town prop­er­ties.

The Trust bought the Mont­gomery House, now the site of the Te Puke Hol­i­day Park, and re­turn­ing ser­vice­men were trained in farm­ing so they could take up farms of their own.

Over time the Te Puke farms were sold, though the Mark/ Brown Rd prop­erty was not sold un­til 1973. The trust also helped ex-trainees on to farms.

Un­der a later Trust amend­ment, pay­ment was made to the Western Bay of Plenty Re­turned Ser­vices As­so­ci­a­tion to es­tab­lish club rooms and pensioner units for the RSA at Katikati, Tau­ranga, Mount Maun­ganui and Te Puke.

From 1973 the trust be­gan char­i­ta­ble do­na­tions to buy var­i­ous med­i­cal equip­ment which would be avail­able to re­turned ser­vice­men, as well as for mo­bil­ity scoot­ers, hos­pi­tal grants, wel­fare grants and travel ex­penses.

When the trust was even­tu­ally wound up in 2013 a large grant was made to the Waipuna Hospice.

From 1960, ed­u­ca­tional schol­ar­ships and bur­saries were of­fered to chil­dren of de­ceased Western Bay of Plenty exser­vice­men to at­tend univer­sity or agri­cul­tural col­lege and a num­ber of these were taken up.

Ge­orge Al­ley died in 1949 but he had fam­ily to carry on his project — daugh­ter He­len (Nel) Sil­son and her hus­band Bob, and later his grand­son Bill Ca­pa­m­a­gian of Tau­ranga. Te Puke ac­coun­tant Brian Ben­nett was Trust sec­re­tary from 1960 to 2013, tak­ing over from Roly Earp.

■ His­to­rian Chris­tine Clement, in con­junc­tion with Brian Ben­nett, has writ­ten a book on Ge­orge Al­ley and the Home­wood Trust, avail­able from Pa­per Plus Te Puke.

Ge­orge Al­ley — a man to be re­mem­bered.

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