Alley and Homewood Trust are remembered
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.