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Peter Dunne On Death Of Sir Peter Blake

7 December 2001

SPEECH BY HON PETER DUNNE TO PARLIAMENT ON DEATH OF SIR PETER BLAKE

Today was the day that the International Year of Violence struck home to New Zealanders.

The deep sense of shock that we all feel with the tragic slaying of Sir Peter Blake brings home to us again, not just his immense capability and his immense contribution to the life of this nation, but also in a way that has been demonstrated so many times already this year, what a violent and fickle world we live in, and how we can take nothing for granted any longer.

I look on Sir Peter Blake, whom I had the privilege of meeting only a couple of times, as one of the truly great romantic heroes.

Whether it be the tousled flowing locks, the flourishing moustache, the tall presence, the elegant strut, or whatever, that was a man whose every sign presented a heroic front.

Sailing around the world single-handed in a catamaran, winning the Whitbread race after years of endeavour, scaling the pinnacle of the America's Cup for New Zealand, and then inspiring a nation to wear their red socks.

As I have moved around this city already this morning I have seen people, as a mark of tribute, wearing their red socks today.

Sir Peter Blake was, to the contemporary generation of New Zealanders, the same sort of quintessential hero that Sir Edmund Hillary was to an earlier time.

On behalf of United Future I extend sympathy to Lady Pippa and the family, to everyone who has been associated with him, both in his yachting ventures, and, more recently in his environmental work.

New Zealand has lost a great son today.

The world has lost a potentially great environmental crusader, an extraordinary sportsman, and a hero whose memory will be with for a long time to come.

Ends

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