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BLAKE Celebrates 20 Years Inspiring Environmental Guardianship And Honouring The Legacy Of Sir Peter Blake

BLAKE celebrates 20 years inspiring environmental guardianship and honouring the legacy of Sir Peter Blake

On its 20th anniversary, BLAKE (formerly the Sir Peter Blake Trust) is celebrating two decades of work dedicated to empowering New Zealanders to commit to a sustainable future for Aotearoa and continuing the conservation leadership legacy of one of the world’s most accomplished yachtsman, Sir Peter Blake.

To mark this significant milestone, BLAKE has published its BLAKE 20th Anniversary Impact Report to demonstrate the enduring and positive influence its immersive environmental programmes have on young Kiwis by inspiring and educating them to become environmental leaders and conservation kaitiaki.

Since 2004, more than 108,000 students and 640 schools have participated in BLAKE’s current programmes - NZ-VR, Explorers, Inspire, Expeditions, and Ambassadors – with many students interacting with the natural marine environment for the first time, and often having life-changing experiences.

According to BLAKE CEO James Gibson, the organisation’s programmes are achieving Sir Peter’s vision to inspire people to care for the environment through adventure, participation, education and enjoyment.

“BLAKE’s mission to motivate New Zealanders to care for our environment has seen us expand our programmes to hundreds of thousands of students in schools across Aotearoa. We provide environmental education and immersion, build leadership skills, enable real-world research opportunities and once-in-a-lifetime expeditions to significant environmental areas, such as the Sub-Antarctic Islands.

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"Our planet is facing escalating challenges such as climate change, pervasive pollution and biodiversity loss. With twenty years of experience and Sir Peter’s legacy behind us, we are committed to nurturing the environmental leaders of tomorrow who will become a force for the enduring change our world urgently requires, now more than ever before,” said Gibson.

Sir Peter, who tragically lost his life on 6 December 2001, dedicated much of his time and energy to environmental protection. Following his passing, the Labour Government, led by Former Prime Minister Helen Clark, supported the establishment of the Sir Peter Blake Trust, which later became BLAKE, along with foundation partner Westpac.

“In the twenty years since my government supported the establishment of the Sir Peter Blake Trust, our vision and Peter’s aspirations have been realised through dedicated programmes in which BLAKE can take real pride. In a world grappling with climate change, habitat destruction, pollution, and biodiversity loss, it is critical we nurture the environmental leaders our world urgently needs,” shared Clark.

BLAKE Patron and wife of the late Sir Peter, Pippa, Lady Blake, believes the Trust is bringing Peter’s dreams to life.

“It’s been remarkable to see BLAKE empower teachers with the tools to educate students about environmental causes, support aspiring researchers exploring environmental pulse points, and encourage more of our children to connect with and care for the environment.

“The impact of BLAKE over the last two decades is a testament to the enduring legacy of Peter’s vision and the collective efforts of all those dedicated to preserving and cherishing our precious planet.”

“At BLAKE, we remain committed to expanding the reach of our programmes, engaging with more schools, and connecting as many of our rangatahi with the wonders of our natural world as possible over the next 20 years,” adds Gibson.

To learn more about the impact BLAKE’s programmes have had over the past 20 years and its vision for the future, read the report here.

Notes to editor

About Sir Peter Blake

In a 30-year career, Sir Peter Blake won every significant blue water race on the planet, including winning and successfully defending the biggest sailing prize of all, the America’s Cup. He also slashed the record for the fastest non-stop circumnavigation of the world under sail. Sir Peter was knighted in 1995 for services to yachting. He was named New Zealand Yachtsman of the Year in 1982 and 1990, and World Sailor of the Year in 1994, along with many other accolades.

Sir Peter’s prowess in sailing was matched only by his unwavering commitment to environmental leadership. After his 2000 America’s Cup win, Sir Peter increasingly dedicated his time and energy to environmental protection. He embarked on a mission to inspire and energise people caring for the environment.

About BLAKE and its programmes

  • BLAKE, formerly known as the Sir Peter Blake Trust, was established in 2004 to continue Sir Peter Blake’s environmental leadership legacy
  • Each year, BLAKE aims to inspire thousands of young New Zealanders to care for the environment through activities and adventures that encourage environmental awareness and leadership, and instil a deeper sense of kaitiakitanga within them
  • BLAKE NZ-VR: In partnership with New Zealand Geographic and powered by Westpac, NZ-VR is BLAKE’s school outreach programme that connects thousands of New Zealanders with the marine environment. Through virtual reality (VR) technology NZ-VR allows students to experience the rich biodiversity that exists below the surface of the ocean, as well as the damage that has been done to the ecosystems
  • BLAKE Explorers: A three-day immersive experience for year 7-8 students to gain an enriching experience in New Zealand’s natural environment through activities such as snorkelling, surfing and hiking
  • BLAKE Inspire: A week-long residential leadership programme in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Education to build strong leadership skills for students, teachers and sailors
  • BLAKE Expeditions: Students are given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join a team of researchers visiting and studying remote and environmentally significant areas, such as the Sub-Antarctic Islands and Fiordland
  • BLAKE Ambassadors: Environmentally passionate 18 to 24-year-olds are given the opportunity to work alongside teams of scientists, conservationists and engineers on research and conservation projects. Partners include NIWA, Department of Conservation, Antarctica New Zealand and GNS Science

BLAKE Awards:

The premier leadership awards in New Zealand celebrating and recognising outstanding leadership exhibited across social, cultural, environmental and economic domains within New Zealand society.

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