Picton Fishers Memorial
On Saturday 29 September the Picton Professional Fishers Association Inc held a consecration ceremony for their new memorial dedicated to fishers who have lost their lives at sea in the Marlborough side of Cook Strait since 1950. The idea was born more than 15 years ago when, in the late 1990's, a paua diver located an anchor where the City of Newcastle had sunk on 14 November 1872 with the loss of two lives. The anchor was retrieved by the Heberley family making the idea a reality.
Click image to enlarge
The anchor seemed a fitting tribute to honour those lost in the Strait, but it took many years of working through red tape, and the gradual decline of the local Fishers Association, before it came to fruition. When the Marlborough District Council began beautifying the Picton foreshore a site was given for the memorial, on the town side of the coat-hanger bridge, and the project was able to be completed. There are eight names on the memorial.
John Sime. FV Gaye-B. 2 September 1971
Malcolm Kirk. FV Tory 10 June 1974
Kevin Wilson & Kevin Verry. FV Shendoah 2 October 1975
Robbie Taylor. FV Reaper 4 October 1981
Don Bourke. FV Tara 27 March 1982
Every single person named had a relative at the very moving ceremony which was opened by ex-fisherman Dick Hall, followed by an address by Mayor Alistair Sowman. His concluding words were fitting for the occasion.
"Our coastal waters may seem benign, but any seafarer knows that even our sheltered sounds can cut up wild as we sit on the edge of Cook Strait - a stretch of water treacherous in storms."
A glance around those gathered brought home the depth of emotions that were being felt. Tears ran freely as the names were unveiled and read out. After the Karanga by Ngaro Aldridge she led the procession to the wharf, with Ted Collins and Joe Heberley carrying a wreath, followed by the family member. At the wharf, twelve of Picton's fishing fleet were berthed. Reverend Richard Dyer and Father Joe Keegan then blessed all the boats. As Ted and Joe placed the wreath into the water a ship's bell rang out eight times to recognise the eight names on the memorial. The service concluded with the haunting sound of a waiata sung by the Aldridge family.
The memorial can be seen in the car park at Picton's marina, adjacent the Coathanger Bridge.
2012. Updated May 2020
Do you have a story about this subject? Find out how to add one here.
Further sources - Picton Fishers Memorial
- Diggle, L. & Ingram, C. (2009) Shipwrecks of New Zealand. Auckland [N.Z.] : L.Diggle
- Ingram, C. & Wheatley, P. (2007) New Zealand shipwrecks : over 200 years of disasters at sea. Auckland, N.Z. : Hodder Moa.
- Mclean, G. (1991) Shipwrecks & maritime disasters Wellington, N.Z. : Grantham House.
- Mclean, G. & Olpert, L. (2007) Full astern! : an illustrated history of New Zealand shipwrecks . Wellington, N.Z. : Grantham House.
- Courtney, D.(2000, January 15) In peril on the sea. Nelson Mail, p. 9
- Nicoll, J. (2012, October 1) Fleet blessed as souls honoured. Marlborough Express.
- Picton Fishers memorial ceremony (2012, October 17) Picton Seaport News/ Seaport Scene, 319
- Rescuer plays down deeds (1996, June 3) Nelson Mail.
- Seafarers Memorial Trust. Retrieved 20 October 2012: