With a perfectly timed swing of the bottle, a shower of champagne, and a celebratory cheer, Port Taranaki’s new tug was officially named Kīnaki today.
“I name this ship Kīnaki, and may she bring fair winds and good fortune to all who sail on her,” Port Taranaki marine planner Hannah Haskell declared, as she christened the state-of-the-art vessel in front of 100 dignitaries, representatives of Ngāti Te Whiti hapu, customers, and current and former staff.
“I was really nervous,” Mrs Haskell laughed afterwards. “There hasn’t been a good track record here of the bottles breaking the first time, so I was really relieved when it broke – the engineers did a fab job getting it rigged up perfectly, particularly as there was a bit of sea movement today.”
Now the ‘god mother’ of the vessel, Mrs Haskell will shortly become a mother herself. She and husband Michael Haskell, who works in the wharf services department at Port Taranaki, will welcome their first child in six weeks.
It was fitting that the next generation was part of the ceremony, as it continues a long family association with the port. Mrs Haskell’s father Stewart Watson, mechanical supervisor, and brother James Watson, a marine technician, also work at Port Taranaki. James is also a relief tug engineer and was part of the six-member team that crewed Kīnaki from Lyttelton to Port Taranaki earlier this month.
Mrs Haskell, who has worked at Port Taranaki for almost 10 years, was part of the team that has worked on the Kīnaki project since the initial proposal more than three years ago, through to the commissioning, design, build and launch of the state-of-the-art tug.
Reverend Albie Martin began the official proceedings today, going on-board Kīnaki with members of Ngāti Te Whiti hapu to bless the vessel. Ngāti Te Whiti worked alongside Port Taranaki to name the tug, with Kīnaki decided on as it has special significance to the hapu.
Kīnaki is the name of one of two mouri, or stones, situated within the breakwater. Mouri are material symbols of a life principle and source of emotions, with the Kīnaki mouri situated near Blyde Wharf, where today’s ceremony was held. Kīnaki was historically the centre of ceremonies, including the departure of large fishing expeditions and catch landings.
“I welcome Kīnaki on behalf of our people and all people of all colours and creeds,” Reverend Martin said.
Port Taranaki chief executive Guy Roper said mouri signified mana, strength, resoluteness and honesty – “attributes that we at the port feel align well with the design and nature of work for the new tug”.
Mr Roper welcomed Sadullah Uzan, the charge d’affaires from the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey, and Sanmar Shipyards’ New Zealand representative Craig Bramley, whose Turkish company built the tug.
“This project has been a global one – one from across the seas,” Mr Roper said. “Despite the distance, we developed a fantastic relationship with Sanmar – one of deep trust. We cannot speak more highly of their desire to meet our needs and deliver us with a quality vessel.
“The performance of a tug is at the essence of what we do – they are critical to our marine operations being safe and successful. We truly value the support of our customers, and hope you can see how our investment in this tug, which will guide your cargo through our harbour for the next 30 years plus, will be of service to you.”
Sadullah Uzan said New Zealand and Turkey shared a special relationship and he believed the Kīnaki project would help strengthen that bond further.
“I wish this tug Kīnaki will make a prominent contribution to all the friendly people of New Zealand and its economy and trade,” he said.