Ma­rine wan­derer re­turns to Auck­land


A piece of New Zealand sail­ing history re­turned to Auck­land on Satur­day when Sir Peter Blake’s for­mer ves­sel Tara tied up in Auck­land Har­bour.

It is the first time the 36-me­tre schooner has re­turned to the coun­try since Blake’s death aboard in 2001.

Pi­rates stormed the ves­sel, then named Sea­mas­ter, while it lay an­chored at the mouth of the Ama­zon River and shot the 53-year-old.

Sir Peter and his crew had started a five-year jour­ney on Sea­mas­ter as part of Blake Ex­pe­di­tions. His mis­sion was to visit eco­log­i­cally sen­si­tive parts of the planet ‘‘to make a dif­fer­ence’’ with a fo­cus on water.

Blake’s boat was re­named Tara after his death, and since, Tara Ex­pe­di­tions have con­tin­ued and ex­panded on his pro­gramme of ocean re­search and ed­u­ca­tion.

Since, 2003 the schooner has trav­elled 350,000 kilo­me­tres across the world’s oceans. It has com­pleted 10 ex­pe­di­tions to study and un­der­stand the im­pacts of cli­mate and eco­log­i­cal changes on the ocean.

Now a French ves­sel, Tara is halfway through a two-year oceano­graphic voy­age study­ing co­ral reefs in the Pa­cific Ocean.

It planned to put in to Whangarei for a re­fit dur­ing the expedition and thanks partly to coun­cil­lor Wayne Walker a stop at Auck­land was ar­ranged.

Walker at­tended the Paris Cli­mate talks in 2015 and spotted the Tara moored on the Seine with an ex­hi­bi­tion at­tached to it.

He spoke to Tara Foun­da­tion Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, Romain Trou­ble, who told him of the Whangarei re­fit and Walker said they should bring the ex­hi­bi­tion to Auck­land and helped or­gan­ise it with the coun­cil.

From July 2 to 9 peo­ple can ex­plore the leg­endary schooner and talk to the crew about the science and life on board. and check­out a photo and video ex­hi­bi­tion.

‘‘The crew will be show­ing vis­i­tors around on deck tours, and there’ll be an ex­hi­bi­tion on the dock telling the story of Tara and our mis­sion, in­clud­ing footage of Peter and Sea­mas­ter,’’ Trou­ble said.

Walker said the tim­ing is per­fect be­cause of New Zealand’s Amer­i­cas’s Cup win.

‘‘So on the Thurs­day when they have the pa­rade the Team New Zealand crew will ac­tu­ally be on Tara as part of their cel­e­bra­tion,’’ he said.


Tara Foun­da­tion ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Romain Trou­ble with coun­cil­lor Wayne Walker in Paris.

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