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Mayor’s win-win solution for Blake memorial

Support for Mayor’s win-win solution for Blake memorial

Auckland Mayor John Banks says he is delighted the way now seems clear for a win-win solution for Auckland City and New Zealand to support appropriate ways to celebrate the life and exploits of Sir Peter Blake.

A meeting of the Auckland City Council’s Combined Committees today approved recommendations to support the proposal for a memorial for Sir Peter at the Maritime Museum.

Councillors also voted to support the mayor’s suggestion that he, Auckland Regional Authority (ARC) chairperson Gwen Bull and the local conservator of the Department of Conservation make representations to the Minister of Conservation for the purchase of Kaikoura Island.

Mr Banks suggested that the government could form a partnership with the ARC to purchase the island which could be used as a further memorial to the Auckland mariner.

The suggestion followed a presentation to councillors by Mr Geoff Davidson, on behalf of the New Zealand Forest Restoration Trust, who promoted the purchase of Kaikoura Island as a more fitting tribute to Sir Peter.

Following Mr Banks’s suggestion, Mr Davidson told councillors: “This is the best of both worlds. It’s an amazing solution.”

Mr Banks said he supported the idea of public ownership of the island but did not believe it was the responsibility of Auckland City ratepayers to be funding the purchase.

The Combined Committees’ recommendation also supported a proposition for the proposed external exhibit at the Maritime Museum to be reviewed by Te Papa architects in association with the council’s Urban Design Panel.

Mr Banks acknowledged the benefits of the Maritime Museum memorial to Sir Peter had not been adequately sold to the public.

“I accept some responsibility for that, as I’m sure do Te Papa and the government. The public would support it if they understood what a superb, international, high-tech, interactive project it will be, for the benefit of visitors, Aucklanders and school children alike.

“What we have got today is a very good outcome – for a $2 million investment we’ll have a $10 million facility for the on-going benefit of hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders.

“Importantly, the Maritime Museum exhibit is what the Blake family favours.”

Under resolutions passed by the Combined Committees, the council would contribute $500,000 a year for four years to the proposed Te Papa proposal subject to the remaining $8 million funding for the project being confirmed.

The resolutions are expected to be approved by a meeting of the full council tomorrow night.

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