Work­men didn’t take long to cot­ton on

Central Leader - - News - By Jo­ce­lyn Rein

Red socks were out in force at the Mar­itime Mu­seum on Fri­day to pay trib­ute to one of the coun­try’s great­est sailors.

Work­ers on the construction site of the Blue Wa­ter Black Magic exhibit hall, a trib­ute to Sir Peter Blake, donned their bright­est pairs of toe-warm­ers to re­mem­ber the sailor.

Work on the $9.5 mil­lion project be­gan in Oc­to­ber last year and is on sched­ule for com­ple­tion in June, fol­lowed by the in­stal­la­tion of ex­hi­bi­tion pieces.

The fin­ished build­ing will house an ex­hi­bi­tion of New Zealand’s boat­ing his­tory lead­ing up to the Amer­ica’s Cup and will be a trib­ute to Sir Peter Blake’s achieve­ments.

In keep­ing with Sir Peter’s wish that it be­come part of a na­tional col­lec­tion, the seven-storey ex­ten­sion of the mu­seum will also house the winning NZL32 Black Magic yacht.

Mar­itime Mu­seum chair­man Alis­tair Aitken says the ex­hi­bi­tion will even fea­ture a pair of Sir Peter’s own red socks, do­nated by Lady Pippa Blake.

He says it is amaz­ing that some­thing as sim­ple as a pair of red socks gal­vanised the whole na­tion dur­ing the 1995 Amer­ica’s Cup.

It started out as a ba­sic item and turned into a global scale icon.

“I don’t know that this type of con­nec­tion has been made with any other sport­ing event.”

He says the Blue Wa­ter Black Magic ex­hi­bi­tion is not just about Sir Peter him­self but about what he sym­bol­ised through his work for en­vi­ron­men­tal aware­ness.

Al­most 15 years af­ter the victory of 1995, red socks have be­come more than just a lucky charm.

School chil­dren across the coun­try this week will be wear­ing red socks to cel­e­brate their knowl­edge of marine ecosys­tems gained through the Care for our Coast pro­gramme.

The ini­tia­tive, in­spired by Sir Peter, aims to de­velop young en­vi­ron­men­tal leaders to con­tinue his work im­prov­ing the state of oceans and wa­ter­ways.

Sir Peter Blake Trust gen­eral man­ager Vicki Wat­son says it’s en­cour­ag­ing to see a new gen­er­a­tion of New Zealan­ders wear­ing red for a cause Sir Peter was so pas­sion­ate about.

“Care for our Coast aims to en­cour­age schools and com­mu­ni­ties to pick up Sir Peter’s man­tle to pro­tect New Zealand’s coast­line which is the eighth long­est in the world.”

Since the pro­gramme launch in 2004, more than 9000 peo­ple have been col­lect­ing 160,000 pieces of rub­bish from 35 beaches.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Lucky day: Work­ers at the Blue Wa­ter Black Magic exhibit show their trib­ute to Sir Peter Blake.

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