Picton shares history lesson with world

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 09:48 30/06/2014
Steam Wharf Track
ANTHONY PHELPS

HIGHLY RELEVANT: National Whale Centre chairman Nick Gerritsen speaks during presentations at the National Whale centre in Picton on Friday.

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The National Whale Centre is working towards a formal opening in Picton on November 15, centre chairman Nick Gerritsen says.

The centre held a function on Friday night to thank sponsors and to unveil concept plans that would see half a lifesize whale jumping out of the verandah outside the centre's London Quay base.

Gerritsen said there were some amazing stories out there, and it was up to the centre to do them justice.

"Picton can be global.

"It's all about leveraging our stories to the mix in a way that people can access them and want to jump on a plane and visit here, drive out in the Sounds, visit Kaipupu Point, cruise on the waters."

Centre project director Luit Bieringa said the centre's "thematic core" was whaling from pre-European times until 1964 in Picton, the Marlborough Sounds, and Kaikoura.

"This is about making our history a live thing, not something frozen in time."

The November launch would be a month-long event, Bieringa said.

It would include the Marlborough Museum, the Picton Museum, and the Millenium Art Gallery in Blenheim.

Before getting a Lotteries Board grant, much of the centre's funding,came from money from the sale of art prints contributed by artists Dick Frizzell and Michael Tuffery.

On Friday, Gerritsen gave three copies of the Frizzell print to sponsors who had helped the centre over the past seven years: Sounds Air; the Marlborough District Council; and Port Marlborough.

Sounds Air managing director Andrew Crawford said he had supported the project because of the passion of the people driving it, particularly Bieringa.

"It was amazing and I thought we have to be part of this."

Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman said the project was "pretty special".

The issue of whaling was timely and relevant around the world, and that had given this project prominence.

"It is resonating throughout our community."

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- The Marlborough Express

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