Blessing of the Fleet Sat 18 August 2018
Nelson’s annual Blessing of the Fishing Fleet is scheduled for Saturday August 18 at 12.30pm on Wakefield Quay.
This is the 18th year the blessing has been held, and organiser and Seafarers’ Memorial Trust spokesman Mike Smith says it’s an event that has won a place on the Nelson calendar and in people’s hearts.
“Blessings like this have been held in ports around the world for centuries, but this event is unique in New Zealand – the sea and fishing are such an integral part of our Nelson community,” he said. “It’s a colourful ceremony in a beautiful location, and is truly valued by families. The bodies of fishermen lost at sea are often not found and this event is an occasion where next of kin and the wider community can remember them when there is no grave to visit.”
The memorial is usually timed to bless the local fishing vessels in the lead up to the hoki season, but this year it was put back a month to allow for the cyclone damage to the quay to be repaired.
There will be the usual fireworks on Friday night (August 17) from 6.30pm, with viewing from the waterfront and the port hills.
On Saturday the Motueka Brass Band will play from 12.30pm at the Seafarers’ Memorial, while the fishing boats line up along Wakefield Quay. The blessing ceremony will begin at 1pm, led by Reverend Jeff Cotton, Father Bill Warwick and Archdeacon Andy Joseph
Music will be provided the Nelson College for Girls Choir led by Myles Payne, there the ringing of the ship’s bell and T.S. Talisman sea cadets will pipe their horns as dignitaries arrive onto pier.
The Rotary Club of Nelson will be offering a cook-up of fish and chips, there will be an auction of the Catch of the Day and displays from the Port Nelson tug, coastguard and the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter.
The Blessing of the Fleet is a free community event, however the public will be asked to make a donation to the Seafarers’ Memorial Trust, to be used in community projects.
If Saturday is wet the Blessing of the Fleet will be held on Sunday 19 August.
Postponement will be broadcast on More FM and The Breeze.