For a seafaring nation it seems right that the New Zealand
Maritime Museum takes pride of place on the waterfront. Somehow the sea impacts
all Kiwis’ lives whether it be trade, recreation or simply the fact that
nowhere in the entire country is more than 120km from the ocean.
Maori were the first to reach what they called Aotearoa some 700 years ago, voyaging across
the Pacific in double-hulled canoes. A short video imagining this intentional colonisation
leads to an example of the type of vessel use, this one built in 1976 and
sailed 2400km from Kiribati to Fiji in
an effort to show that such journeys were possible. The long and often
unpleasant journeys endured by Europeans in the nineteenth century get thorough
coverage, as does the role of yachting in many Kiwi upbringings, particularly
around Auckland where the Hauraki Gulf soaks up many a weekend.
The successes of New Zealand’s high performing sailors are celebrated,
especially the achievements of Peter Blake who won the Whitbread
Round-the-World Race in 1990 and led New Zealand to two America’s Cup victories
in 1995 and 2000 (with the aid of some lucky red socks).
Check the website for harbour sailings, particularly on the
Ted Ashby, a replica of the sort of scow that used to ply the shallow inlets
and shelving beaches of the Auckland region and beyond.