Commander Charles Blackie joined the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNZNVR) at HMNZS NGAPONA in Auckland as an Ordinary Seaman in 1967. He commenced his seaman training before taking up a commission as a Seaman Officer in the rank of Ensign in 1969.
He was promoted to the rank of Sub-Lieutenant in 1971. It was during this time that he served on numerous New Zealand Naval ships – including frigates, mine-sweepers, patrol craft and hydrographic vessels.
After several courses and time at sea which included, Frigate Harbour Watch-keeping Certificate, Astro Navigation Certificate he gained his Minor War Vessel Command certificate in 1989. This allowed him to command the new Naval Reserve Inshore Patrol Craft (IPC) HMNZS HINAU, the Auckland Divisions attached IPC.
He commanded HINAU during a number of RNZNVR Fleet Training Periods and sea training periods around the New Zealand coast.
He also attended Royal Australian Naval Staff College at HMAS Penguin in Australia.
He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander in 1983. His responsibilities included Operations Officer and Executive Officer before being appointed Commanding Officer of HMNZS NGAPONA in 1993.
This also included the Naval Reserve sub-unit located at the Port of Tauranga.
In 1996 Commander Blackie retired from active list of RNZNVR, but has continued to serve on the inactive list of the RNZNVR as a lecturer and course instructor.
Commander Blackie has also been involved with the Military Justice system. Highlights include:
1975: Appointed to Court Martial Counsel Panel. Appeared on behalf of prosecution and defence at Court Martials in respect of Army, Air Force and Naval prosecutions
1982: Appointed Judge Advocate to New Zealand Armed Forces and served throughout the 1980s and 1990s in that role – between 30 and 40 Court Martials. Cases involved Army, Naval and Air Force personnel, with sittings at Devonport, Takapuna, Papakura, Hobsonville, Whenuapai, Hopu Hopu, Ohakea, Waiouru and Singapore.
1983: Active in the implementation of DM69.
1993: Commenced presenting lectures Service Law – continued until 1999
1997: Appointed also to Court Martial Appeal Court – served until 2002. Sat as a member of the Court in three Court Martial appeals.
A Foundation Member of Armed Services Legal Association of New Zealand.
Chief Justice of Pitcairn Islands - No doubt as a result of his connections with the Navy and being Judge in the District Court, Commander Blackie was appointed by the British government in 2000 to be Chief Justice of the Pitcairn Islands. Pitcairn Island can only be reached by sea and landings are by virtue of Islanders' long boats, or a Zodiac inflatable. There is no harbour or sheltered anchorage.
Commander Blackie has wide experience with military law, including the 1950s Manual of Military Law, Manual of Air Force Law and Naval Discipline Act. In his civilian role Commander Blackie is a Senior District Court Judge sitting in the Manukau District Court, Auckland.