13 Nov 2012

Death of Collis Blake

12:59 pm on 13 November 2012

Horowhenua is mourning the death of the man who led a fight against banks forcing farmers off their land in the 1980s rural down turn.

Collis Blake, 81, came from a long-established farming family in the region.

He came to prominence in the late 1980s when skyrocketing interest rates and removal of farm subsidies triggered the financial strife that led to mortgagee sales and farmer suicides.

Collis Blake and his wife Helen provided financial support to many stressed families who were facing foreclosure by the banks.

His protest actions at forced farm sales grew into the Provincial Support Group, which developed a lot of political clout.

Eventually, he and the banks worked together to find ways of restructuring farmers' debts or helping them to leave their farms with some dignity.

He was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to farming and the community.

His funeral will be held in Levin on Tuesday afternoon.