WelCom August 2017: Nelsonians of all ages turned out on Saturday 15 July for the annual blessing of the fleet. Now in its seventeenth year, the Nelson blessing was for the safe sailing of this year’s fleet and in remembrance of the 140 fatalities over 17 years. Making the blessing were Nelson and Stoke Holy Family Parish Priest Fr Bill Warwick with Bishop Richard Elena of the Anglican Diocesan Office Nelson Cathedral, Reverend Jeff Cotton of Peter’s Anglican Church in Atawhai, and retired Anglican clergyman Archdeacon Andy Joseph.
The crowd held out their palms towards the boats in the harbour as the Motueka Brass Band played For Those in Peril on the Sea and a navy representative dropped a bunch of lilies into the ocean in tribute to those remembered. After minute’s silence, a chime from a silver ship’s bell brought a reply from the boats in the harbour sounding their horns.
A great number of boats attended and a large Sealord’s ship slowly entered the harbour as the blessing was given. All the boats then sailed past. The Christian Academy choir sang beautifully to round out a great ceremony.
Nelson is the largest fishing port in Australasia.