Spirit of New Zealand flying the Blue Flag

The 'Spirit of New Zealand' the (tall) flag ship of the Spirit of Adventure Trust was officially welcomed as a member of the global Blue Flag programme at a ceremony on Friday at Westhaven Marina Auckland.

The programme to be known as the ‘Sail Training International Blue Flag Scheme’ is as a result of The Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and Sail Training International joining forces to promote FEE’s Blue Flag programme to help protect the world’s marine environment. The programme is open to sail training vessels that belong to Sail Training International’s member national organisations in 26 countries and others that participate in sail training at Tall Ships events.

The Chairman of the Spirit of Adventure Trust Mr Stephen Fisher spoke of the importance of the sailing youth as the future guardians of the seas and is delighted to be flying the Blue Flag as an example for all boaties to follow. Trust has signed a Code of Conduct that will apply to everyone on board to minimise their impact on the marine environment both at sea and in port. The Trust received its Blue Flag Membership Certificate earlier this year, and remain fully committed to their ongoing contribution to protect New Zealand’s unique marine environment.

 “Our marine environment is deteriorating in New Zealand as it is almost everywhere around the world and protecting the marine environment is the responsibility of all especially those that go to sea and those that use the seaside for their playground ,” says Robert Acton, Chairman of FEE-NZ. “We applaud the Spirit of Adventure Trust in adopting the Blue Flag volunteer programme and look forward to working with and supporting in assisting young trainee crew members to really ‘make a difference’.”

The chairman of the "Auckland Waterfront" Bob Harvey after requesting a two minute silence period in respect for the recent Christchurch earthquake spoke on the power of nature and the vulnerability of Auckland to potential tsunamis, as well as the importance of safety and preparation for possible natural disastrous events. He commended the Blue Flag taking a lead in education towards protecting the oceans for future generations.

Nikki Kaye - Minister of Parliament for Auckland spoke specifically of the importance of protecting the waters and sensitive areas around New Zealand and talked on the initiatives taking place around some of the islands of the Hauraki Gulf that will see these natural habitats, flora and fauna restored. Nikki raised a symbolic Blue Flag to post celebrate the Spirit of New Zealand flying the Blue Flag and also for the new marina "The Landing" and Westhaven Marina having successfully qualified to receive the Blue Flag for the 2010/2011 year.