INDEPENDENT NEWS

Blessing Of The Fleet Sat 15 May 2021

Published: Wed 5 May 2021 05:07 PM
Photo: John Paul Pochin
Nelson’s annual Blessing of the Fishing Fleet is scheduled for Saturday 15 May at noon on Wakefield Quay.
This is the 20th year the blessing has been held, and organiser and Seafarers’ Memorial Trust spokesman Mike Smith says it’s an event that has won a place on the Nelson calendar and in people’s hearts.
“Blessings like this have been held in ports around the world for centuries, but this event is unique in New Zealand – the sea and fishing are such an integral part of our Nelson community,” he said. “It’s a colourful ceremony in a beautiful location, and is truly valued by families. The bodies of fishermen lost at sea are often not found and this event is an occasion where next of kin and the wider community can remember them when there is no grave to visit.”
There will be the usual fireworks on Friday night (May 14) from 6.30pm, with viewing from the waterfront and the port hills.
On Saturday the Motueka Brass Band will play from 12 noon at the Seafarers’ Memorial, while the fishing boats line up along Wakefield Quay. The blessing ceremony will begin at 12.30pm, led by Reverend Simon Martin, Father Joy Raphal and Archdeacon Andy Joseph
Music will be provided by the Nelson College for Girls Choir, there will be a minute’s silence, wreath laying and the ringing of the ship’s bell.
The Rotary Club of Nelson will be offering a cook-up of fish and chips, there will be an auction of the Catch of the Day and displays from the Port Nelson tug, coastguard and the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter, emceed by Pete Kara.
The Blessing of the Fleet is a free community event, however the public will be asked to make a donation to the Seafarers’ Memorial Trust, to be used in community projects.
If Saturday is wet the Blessing of the Fleet will be held on Sunday 16 May.
Postponement will be broadcast on More FM and The Breeze.

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