Editorial 117

Sir Peter Blake remains – Wyland deleted!

I recently became aware that the 420 metre long Wyland mural, that graced New Zealand’s National Maritime Museum’s back wall facing Auckland’s Viaduct basin, has been painted over in the Museum’s new image colour of – black!

The Museum has been renamed, Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum.

On hearing this news I was gutted. When I visited the wall I was stunned – such beauty and history gone forever! The mural depicted a full size 30 metre blue whale swimming with humpback, blue, pilot and killer whales (orca) and dolphins. Schools regularly took children to view the mural so that they could appreciate these majestic creatures of the world’s oceans. New Zealanders, tourists and visiting cruising craft took great pleasure admiring and appreciating the legacy left by Wyland and Sir Peter Blake to the people of New Zealand.

Wyland’s Auckland mural was his 84th Wyland Wall which he painted during October – November 1999 during the America’s Cup Yachting Campaign. He has since achieved his objective of painting 100 walls throughout the world, many in America. He was invited to paint the wall by New Zealand’s yachting legend the late Sir Peter Blake. Sir Peter even added his touch by squirting some paint and his signature.

To have one of Wyland’s Walls painted in your country or town is a very prestigious honour! You maybe asking who is this Wyland Guy? Visit:


and be amazed. Just this year he was inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame (


) the world’s most prestigious recognition for people who have contributed significantly to the sport of Scuba Diving throughout the world.

Wyland’s predecessors include: Jacques and Jean-Michel Cousteau, Hans and Lotte Hass, Stan Waterman, David Doubilet and a bunch of Australians: Rodney Fox, Ron and Valerie Taylor, Ben Cropp, Bob Halstead, Mike Ball and Neville Coleman.

In New Zealand the magazine presents an annual award: The Wyland Foundation – Dive New Zealand Magazine Recognition Award. This stunning award was donated to the magazine by Wyland so that people could be recognized for their contribution to the environment (



I have spoken to the Museum’s CEO, Paul Evens and Chairman, Alastair Aitken. Both say the predominant reason for painting over the masterpieces was maintenance!

If there is a will there is always a way to sort out any problem. I’m absolutely sure artists from all over New Zealand would have jumped at the chance to do any necessary remedial work required. I’m also sure some of the big painting companies (as they did when it was originally painted) would have lent a helping hand to help ensure this beautiful mural would stand the test of time – much longer than 10 short years.

Black-Black – I realize many New Zealanders love the colour of black and their blood surges when the All Blacks rugby team run out onto the field, so I guess having the Museum’s entrance painted black is fair enough if that was part of their thinking? – but painting the back wall black? A wall that most people couldn’t care less about or even realize it’s the museum’s back wall.

It is ironic or maybe it was one of the painters who spotted it before the spray gun obliterated it forever. The only thing left of the mural is Sir Peter’s signature. Apparently no one had the stomach to paint out Sir Peter’s own hand which now looks rather odd and lonely without Wyland’s signature (painted over) and the mammals that they and the people of Auckland and New Zealand loved.

If Sir Peter Blake was alive today I would suggest the Wall would still be there for all to enjoy and learn from. What a shame.

The Dive New Zealand / Dive Pacific team look forward to meeting those of you who can make it along to the Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show (see promotion on page one). Take out a subscription and you may have the chance to dive in a Submersible – now that would be real cool. We hope to have arrangements in place before the Show. Call by for a chat and check out the 6.7 metre Sub!

Safe diving.

Dave Moran

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