3 Minute Speaker: Mike Wong.
In 1865 brothers Phillip and Richard Dolbel purchased Springfield and Redclyffe Stations, part of which later became the 18ha Dolbel Reserve.
Over the years several developers subdivided parts of the Dolbel farmland for housing development. One of these was Carter Holt who bought the Dolbel Reserve.
This turned out to be geotechnically unstable for housing and hence a swap deal was struck between CH and NCC in lieu of capital contribution money for their many subdivision developments in Napier
In 1992, Napier City Council approached RCT to partner with them to develop the 18ha of the scrub-covered hill.
The first team leader was Ron Ward, followed by Ray Burney, Selwyn Dyet, and now Joff Hulbert, an ex-DOC lawyer who was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship last year.
Greenmeadows Rotary joined the project in 2005 and manages what is known as the Bell Block and Colenso Block. Our Dolbel team assists them by donating plants, planting, spraying blackberry, and forming paths to improve safety and convenience as they do not have the numbers we have.
Over the years several club members have worked on the reserve such as Jim Dobbie, Robin Arnold, Bob Knappstein, Ross Ross-Taylor, Neil Kittow to name a few. Allan Tuck also helped develop the road to the top through Higgins when he was their manager. We have also had over the years many non- Rotarian volunteers the most notable being the Taradale Town Crier Eric Lamb.
Currently, there are four Rotarians Bill Hawkins, John Mackinnon, Ken Holst, and Mike, with twelve community volunteers. The team comprises retired farmers, environmentalists, trampers, Forest & Bird volunteers, and engineers. There is also a dedicated team member who works at Halliwell Reserve each week, as it is now fairly well established but requires maintenance. This Dolbel project is funded primarily by grants from charities.
Last year $3000 was received from Pub Charity, $3300 from Lion Foundation, and $2000 from ECCT. This financial year the team managed to get the annual grant from NCC increased to $5000.