Public Trust has established an annual award in memory of tireless archdiocesan and Tawa parish worker, Brian Blacktop who died unexpectedly at his home on June 23, 2007. He was 70.
Brian was a person who applied his considerable integrity in all that he undertook. With his firmly held Christian and social values he committed himself willingly to his employer and to the community and church as needs or opportunities arose.
In 1999 as a solicitor and deputy public trustee he retired after 40 years of employment with the Public Trust. He was immediately reengaged as a full-time consultant and became the architect of the Public Trust Act 2001. The organisation, after being in existence for 128 years, was restructured as a crown-owned entity for the benefit of all New Zealanders.
Brian was also respected as one of New Zealand’s leading authorities on trustee law and readily made himself available to fellow lawyers and trustees when called upon for advice.
Brian’s commitment to the community is evidenced by more than 20 years as a member of the Rotary Club of Tawa. He was a past president of the club and, at the time of his death, a district secretary. He was a Paul Harris Fellow in recognition of his service to the club and community.
From 1973 Brian had continual involvement with Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Tawa, in many roles. In 1983 he joined the Archdiocesan Board of Administration and served on several supporting committees. When Palmerston North became a diocese he had considerable involvement in drawing up the Terms of Disengagement from the Archdiocese of Wellington. He was heavily involved in the rationalisation of Wellington church property and the building of the Catholic Centre in Hill Street. Brian retired from the board in 2006.
Public Trust has an ethos of social responsibility. It prides itself in putting customers’ interests first and conducting its business in a straightforward and trustworthy manner.
Working relationships between staff that model support and cooperation are valued.
Chief executive Grenville Gaskell says that staff and clients did not need to look very far to find an example of how Public Trust wished its values and culture to be practised.
‘Brian was the embodiment of the PT,’ says Grenville.
The Brian Blacktop Award is available to Public Trust employees to foster the spirit of the values by undertaking voluntary work in the community. Public Trust will provide award winners with special paid leave for this purpose.
The award is an acknowledgement by Public Trust that Brian’s deep commitment to social responsibility and love of the community matches its own values.
Public Trust, in honouring Brian’s memory, is in essence saying to staff, ‘these values are meritorious and worthy of adoption for going about one’s life, be it career-wise or privately’.
Throughout his busy career and community-centred life Brian still made time to be a loving husband, father and grandfather. While his wife Margaret played a hugely important part in ‘keeping the home fires burning’ during Brian’s absences, their endeavours were very much a partnership. Although he was to the forefront publicly his community and church involvement were activities and beliefs Margaret and Brian jointly held.
Archbishop John Dew presided over Brian’s Requiem, concelebrated with Cardinal Tom Williams and Tawa’s parish priest Father John van der Kaa AA, before an overflowing Our Lady of Fatima congregation.
Public Trust announced the winners of the inaugural awards as Wel-com went to print. They are:
Beverley Sutherland, Public Trust’s Masterton customer centre. Beverley is looking for additional help in her role as a crisis support worker with Victim Support Wairarapa.
Gaylene Jones, Christchurch customer centre. Gaylene wants to help the Child Cancer Foundation implement an activities programme for cancer patients and their families away from the hospital environment.
Rotorua customer centre team (Russell Bridge, Steve Ericksen, Peter Duncan and Lynda Donne). This group will help provide and plant trees at Linton Park on Arbour Day on June 5 for the Department of Conservation.
Corporate Office team, Wellington (Tamsin Renwick, Dennis Crewe-Brown, David Dome, Perry Ames, Nadia Batista, Sandra Wong, Paula Bennett, Neil Bailey, Rebekah Naldrett-Jays, Jane Davel, Marlies Butland-Delfos and Amanda Kaliff). This team is to cook for families staying at Wellington’s Ronald McDonald House once a month for a year.
Picture shows Margaret and Brian Blacktop celebrating what was to be Brian’s last Christmas with their family, 2006.