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Mayor prepares to dive on the frigate

10 November 2005

Mayor prepares to dive on the frigate

Mayor Kerry Prendergast will be one of the first divers on the former HMNZS Wellington when the frigate is sunk off the South Coast of Wellington on Saturday.

“I feel slightly anxious but also very excited to be diving on the frigate. It is indeed an honour to be one of the first to dive on her. My diving instructor Dave Drane from Splash Gordon has taught me well and I am well prepared for the dive,” Ms Prendergast says.

Police divers will ensure that the ship is safe before the Mayor makes her dive. The ship is scheduled to be sunk at 3pm off the coast of Houghton Bay.

The Mayor will be accompanied on the dive by her husband Rex Nicholls, DominionPost editor Tim Pankhurst and reporter Nick Churchouse and freelance photographer Dave Hansford. A National Geographic camera crew will also be with the group. Mayor Prendergast will officially open the ship after her dive.

Mayor Prendergast joked in a speech earlier this year that she wouldn’t mind diving on the frigate when it was sunk. Splash Gordon then offered her diving lessons. Ms Prendergast took up the challenge and passed her exams with flying colours, recently attaining her advanced diving certificate.

“I went diving on a sunken ship at 27 metres in Fiji recently and it was absolutely amazing. It’s a different world down there. I know our very own seabed treasure will give hours of pleasure for many years to come, not just for locals, but for divers from around the country and the world,” she says.

Crowds of spectators are expected to head to the South Coast to watch the sinking. Motorists are urged to park their vehicles away from the coastal road and take a bus to Houghton Bay. Houghton Bay School is providing a limited amount of parking in their grounds and at Houghton Bay Park as a fundraiser.

If weather or sea conditions are not suitable on 12 November, the sinking will be postponed until the next clear day.

ENDS

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