Celebrate the art of boat-building
There’s a reason why Auckland is called the City of Sails, and Baden Pascoe is ready to celebrate it.
Maritime history is the focus of this year’s Auckland Heritage Festival which kicks off tomorrow and runs until October 13.
Mr Pascoe, 56, has been studying the Percy Vos boatyard – the last remaining wooden boatyard on Auckland’s waterfront – for 30 years.
He says boatbuilding in New Zealand has come from a succession of greats, leading to the country’s status on the world stage.
‘‘You wouldn’t see Team New Zealand, coming from a little country, being able to compete against superpowers like Oracle if we didn’t have that history.
‘‘It’s the other end of the scale to what Percy Vos was doing, but it’s all got to start somewhere.’’
Mr Pascoe has written Launching Dreams, focusing on the boatyard’s history from 1922 and the wide range of boats built, from dinghies to luxury yachts, fishing boats and the car ferry Korea.
The boatyard moved from Pier 21 to the Viaduct’s Hamer St in 1937 to accommodate larger boatbuilding.
Mr Pascoe and the Percy Vos Charitable Trust aim to restore the Hamer St boatyard within five years to once again become part of Auckland’s vibrant waterfront.
Visitors will be able to see displays of boat building and restoration at the yard, he says.
‘‘Have you ever watched the closing ceremony in the Olympics with the lynch-pin athlete carrying the torch home on its final legs?
‘‘That was Percy Vos. As he came to the end of his life so did the wooden boatbuilding industry,’’ Mr Pascoe says.
‘‘We hope to restore it back to a heritage character.’’
Mr Pascoe grew up surrounded by boats. His father was a New Zealand representative yachtsman and carpenter who was requisitioned to the Vos boatyard during WWII in 1942.
Mr Pascoe says the history of Auckland is based around the water.
‘‘We want to keep our city unique as a maritime city.
‘‘If we lose that then we’ll lose our identity,’’ he says.
Waterfront Auckland general manager of strategy Stephen Rainbow says the organisation focuses on incorporating heritage into the design of the waterfront.
Waterfront Auckland manages the Percy Vos boatyard, which is owned by Auckland Council, and supports the trust’s proposed restoration.
‘‘Apart from the fact that it is a fascinating piece of our heritage, it could be argued that this is the birthplace of the New Zealand marine industry.
‘‘With the America’s Cup what we see is how important that is to New Zealand and how unique our skills are.’’
Historic: The Percy Vos boatyard on its original site at Pier 21.