12 Dec 2009

Memorial opened in honour of Sir Peter Blake

3:00 pm on 12 December 2009

A memorial to New Zealand yachtsman Sir Peter Blake has been officially opened in Auckland.

Prime Minister John Key and Sir Peter's wife, Lady Pippa Blake, attended the ceremony at the Voyager Maritime Museum of New Zealand at the Viaduct on Saturday.

Sir Peter, a world-class yachtsman and environmentalist, was killed in Brazil by pirates on the Amazon in 2001.

The Blue Water Black Magic exhibition commemorates Sir Peter's life, work and achievements.

The winning boat from the 1995 America's Cup, Black Magic NZL 32 forms the centrepiece of the $9.5 million memorial, which also includes photographs, videos and displays documenting his life.

Lady Blake says the memorial to captures the essence of her husband's adventurous spirit and knows he would have supported the exhibition, as it shows others his world, his stories and the causes he believed in.

"One of the most appealing aspects of the exhibition is the ongoing opportunities it will offer young people to learn about Peter's achievements and to be encouraged to work hard towards their own goals.

"Like many New Zealanders of his generation, he did not see the barriers - just the opportunities and the adventure."

Lady Blake says her family has no doubt the exhibition will be a lasting source of inspiration for generations to come.

The Prime Minister paid tribute to Sir Peter, saying he is the kind of New Zealander that makes us feel proud, and the kind of person we want our children to grow up to be.

"He is a New Zealander that is sadly missed, but he's a New Zealander that left his mark. This is a wonderful way of us demonstrating what he meant to New Zealand and what he meant to yachting around the world."

The exhibition is free to the public until 9pm on Saturday.