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The 2007 yearbook: Where the bloody hell

by 1 Jan 2007Regatta 20070 comments

Mahurangi Cruising Club Year Book 2005

Swan Song: Designer Stephen Horsley’s last cover for the ever-stylish Mahurangi Cruising Club Yearbook.

I keep doing this.

Bashing out an editorial for a Friends of the Mahurangi publication only to rewrite it, having missed the bleedin’ obvious.

My prematurely written editorial had been inspired by last year’s commemoration of the World War Two heroism of Charles Upham VC and bar. Upham, it seemed to me, had redefined calculated risk when he stood in full view of enemy riflemen, having observed their marksmanship to be quite poor, in order to provoke them into exposing their positions to his men.

And speaking of heroes, I had planned to claim, history will record Al Gore’s courage in betting the family tobacco farm on the imperative for the international community to sing from the same hymn sheet on climate change.

New Zealanders have always been quick to volunteer to save the world—Upham turned down officer training, rather than suffer any delay in joining the fray—we need heroes now to mobilise us and demonstrate to the world that Aotearoa is part of the smart–green solution. And not just for altruistic reasons, do it for the hard-arsed economic reason that it is necessary in order to maintain the country’s competitive edge—the ‘100% pure’ edge that Geoff Ross readily credits for the stellar success of his precocious 42 Below concept. Once an unquestioned source of national pride, Aotearoa’s efficient agricultural industry is increasingly being wrong-footed by climate change concerns. A land use change from agriculture to sustainable indigenous forestry on the scale seen with radiata pine in the mid-1900s, would be to play to our strengths. With cows beating cars as the planet’s single biggest contributor to climate change, exporting highly crafted wooden boats is conceivably more sound than relying on dairy perishables.

The need for land use transformation is nowhere more evident than in the elevated rate of sediment accumulation in the Mahurangi Harbour.

With the support of the Sustainable Farming Fund and Rodney District Council, we are building part of the infrastructure needed for property holders to affordably plant indigenous trees in unprecedented numbers. This is the open-ground indigenous plant project.

Following the last regatta, the concept of combining the content of our little Mahurangi Bulletin with that of the glamorous yearbook was discussed. But with a new publication team yet to gear up to fill the legendarily big shoes of Stephen Horsley, it was decided to delay the yearbook and to coincide it with the re-launch of the Jane Gifford, later this year.

Steve, who produced the Mahurangi Cruising Club Yearbook from its inception in 2001, explains:

Essentially the magazine was getting too much for those funding it, and at 80 pages of full colour, costs were skyrocketing.

I also have to concentrate on the Ngatira this year as we are hoping to get her out of the shed by this time next year. I am still spending a lot of time researching other similar-sized yachts like Prize and Rawene as these two are still very nearly in original condition and the same time period, and drawing plans for the construction and detail of the Ngatira.

To this end and the philosophy of the New Zealand Maritime Restoration School, the restoration/rebuild of the Ngatira will be authentic in respect to construction methods and materials of the period. At present graduate student Ben Godwin is working fulltime on her and possibly another will be starting in February. Jay Lawry is overseeing the work and is also involved in complicated aspects of construction.

It was specifically because of the need to recruit support for the open-ground indigenous plant project, that Friends of the Mahurangi made the decision to produce this Mahurangi Magazine. In one very important respect, the decision was made easy: The stunning photographs volunteered by Max Cumming. With these, we knew the magazine could be some compensation to the many who avidly anticipate the regatta morning yearbook.

In the Salty Dog in December, that prince amongst men Lyn Bergquist volunteered to help me throw this magazine together. You can thank Lyn that some of my uglier layouts never saw the light of day, and blame my sales skills for preventing you seeing more of his.

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