Sir Peter’s legacy remains, five years on
6 December 2006
Sir Peter’s legacy remains, five years on
Six December 2006 marks five years since Sir Peter Blake was murdered while on an environmental expedition in the Amazon.
Dr Mark Orams, Executive Director of the Sir Peter Blake Trust takes a look at the legacy Sir Peter has left behind.
“For almost every New Zealander, and for many others around the world, the loss of Sir Peter was one of those moments never to be forgotten. We remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when we found out about his death. The impact on the psyche was huge. Emotions of shock, disbelief, anger, sadness and grief were widespread. It was a tragedy, not only because of the loss of a great man and a great New Zealander, but also because of the loss of all the things he had yet to achieve.
After the shock of Sir Peter’s death had subsided a widespread discussion as to what should be done to honour him ensued. Many ideas were put forward including sculpting and erecting statues, the re-naming of the Viaduct Harbour, the establishment of youth yachting programmes, the purchasing of Kaikoura Island, the establishment of a major exhibition at the New Zealand National Maritime Museum and the continuation of Blakexpeditions.
These were all worthy ideas, but many of us who had been fortunate to know him well felt that a living, sustainable and accessible memorial focussed on things important to Sir Peter was the most appropriate way to honour him. As a consequence, key supporters and colleagues of Sir Peter, along with the New Zealand government established the Sir Peter Blake Trust in late 2003. This formally registered charitable trust was assisted in its start up with a financial endowment from central government on behalf of all New Zealanders and was publicly launched in June 2004. The Sir Peter Blake Trust has the blessing and involvement of the Blake family (Pippa, Lady Blake is a trust board member) and is an active organisation which is honouring Sir Peter by continuing with his work in environmental education (especially for youth) and in recognising and celebrating the importance of leadership. The Sir Peter Blake Trust is deliberately forward-looking, rather than reflective or memorial, and, thus, is consistent with the spirit and personality of Sir Peter, a person who was always focused on the future and excited by his next challenge.
Over the past three years we’ve been proud of the following achievements to inspire young New Zealanders into environmental activities:
Sir Peter Blake
Environmental Educator Award
(in partnership with the Ministry of Education)
This award provides an outstanding environmental educator with a year’s paid leave to pursue an environmental project.
Sir Peter Blake Ambassadors to the United Nations Environment Programme
Young New Zealand environmentalists (10-14 years of age) are selected and supported to the UNEP International Children’s Conferences on the Environment.
Sir Peter Blake Youth Environment Forum
(in partnership with the Ministry for the Environment)
A week long series of workshops and activities designed to build the capability of young environmental leaders from high schools throughout the country. The catalyst of this programme is already seeing a number of environment committees set up at schools and regional youth environment forums established around the country.
Sir Peter Blake Memorial Regatta
(in partnership with the Torbay Sailing Club)
This has grown into the largest two-day yachting regatta in the country with over 450 participants. It has a youth focus and an environmental education theme designed to educate young New Zealand sailors about the marine environment and to encourage them to do their part in caring for it.
Environmental Code of Conduct
Using Sir Peter Blake's catch-cry of "good water, good life", the code encourages the boating community to play its part in looking after the seas, lakes and waterways of New Zealand. The code has been widely promoted with the assistance of Yachting New Zealand and the NZ Coastguard Boating Education Service and has had influence as far a field as the United Kingdom where the Royal Yachting Association has (with permission) adapted the code for use in the UK.
Clean Up Our Coast
(in partnership with the Spirit of Adventure Trust and various schools)
Youth visit a beach area or other coastal area and conduct a clean up and survey of marine litter and debris. The rubbish is sorted and recorded. Data are then sent to the Sir Peter Blake Trust and entered into a database. This information is then used for education and advocacy around reducing marine debris and litter.
Sea & Learn
(in partnership with NIWA)
A hands-on marine science education programme designed for senior high school students and conducted on board the marine research ship Kaharoa. The programme provides practical science exercises linked to the high-school science curriculum.
As a fitting tribute to a man so many saw as an inspiring leader, in 2005 we launched the Sir Peter Blake Leadership Awards. Through the Awards each year we recognise one established leader through the Blake Medal, and six up-and-coming leaders as through the Emerging Leader Award. Our first Blake Medallist was Sir John Anderson, and this year Stephen Tindall took the award.
We are lucky to have some of New Zealand’s leading businesses supporting the Trust - Westpac is our Foundation Partner, Air New Zealand and the Lion Foundation are leading partners, and our larger network of supporters includes; Chapman Tripp, Designworks EIG, Fairfax Media, Giltrap North Shore, Line 7, Massey University, Ministry for the Environment, Ministry of Education, Newstalk ZB, New Zealand Geographic, Porter Novelli, Saatchi & Saatchi, Shift, Soar Printing and TVNZ.
The Trustees are: Chair, Ann Sherry, CEO of Westpac; Pippa, Lady Blake; Hugh Logan, Chief Executive, Ministry for the Environment; Karen Sewell, Ministry of Education; Christopher Mace; Dr Mark Orams; His Excellency Sergio Serra, Ambassador to NZ for Brazil; Sir Ron Carter; Ross Blackman.
Five years since his tragic death, Sir Peter Blake’s love for the ocean, his passion for conservation and his legacy lives on through the work of the Sir Peter Blake Trust, and through the many young New Zealanders we reach every year.”