The Sir Peter Blake Trust will now be known as BLAKE.
Pippa, Lady Blake, sees the name change as a necessary move to make the organisation “more progressive and impactful” and have a more compelling reach to young people.
“For several years I’ve felt it needed a name change. Obviously it’s still all about Peter’s legacy, but I think the trust is so well established now, we don’t need ‘Sir Peter’ in the name anymore,” says Pippa, who is co-patron of BLAKE.
“It might be hard to be objective because it is our family surname. But I think Blake is a strong name - it sounds punchy and progressive.
“Some may baulk at the idea, but I think it’s very positive. It’s a way to reach out to more people – especially young people. The trust has been upping its game for a long time, getting stronger and stronger, and I see this as another leap ahead.”
The organisation, now in its 15th year, recently embarked on a renewed strategy – to focus on environmental leadership, especially with the country’s youth. Its role is embodied in the statement: “We inspire and educate people to lead a sustainable future for Aotearoa.”
BLAKE CEO, James Gibson, says the latest change was a significant, but timely, decision for the organisation.
“We’ve never been comfortable with the way our name had been shortened, with many references to us being either ‘SPBT’ or ‘the Trust’,” he says.
“We think that by simplifying the name to BLAKE, while retaining the visual reference to the albatross, and placing it at the forefront of all our programmes, we will more effectively ensure the connection to Sir Peter Blake.”
There was also a need to be more clear on what the organisation was all about, Gibson says.
“We knew many people were confused by what type of organisation we are – there were people who thought we were a funding agency or a sailing organisation, rather than an active non-profit delivering environmental leadership programmes,” he says.
“We felt the brand needed to be refreshed to be more dynamic and reflective of the young, future-focused and, hopefully, inspirational organisation that we aspire to be.”
In keeping with the overall name change, the names of the programmes that BLAKE delivers have also been revamped.
- BLAKE Inspire replaces YELF - the Youth EnviroLeaders Forum. There will be three Inspire forums throughout the year – one for young leaders, one for secondary school sailors and an experiential learning programme for teachers. “To go into classrooms and make our young people aware of climate change and plastics pollution is really important,” Pippa says. “So educating more teachers to inspire our children is great.”
- BLAKE NZ-VR is the new school outreach programme, connecting thousands of young Kiwis with the marine environment through virtual reality. Two educators visit schools throughout Auckland, and will inspire 20,000 young people this year. There are also supplementary teaching resources and VR videos to help students around the country experience the rich biodiversity beneath the ocean’s surface.
- BLAKE Expeditions is the new home for all of BLAKE’s life-changing adventures for young Kiwis. The next expedition, with the Royal New Zealand Navy, is expected in the next 12-18 months.
- BLAKE Ambassadors will continue to offer environmental leadership opportunities to 18-25 year olds, working on projects in New Zealand and overseas. There are currently 14 ambassadors in the programme - five through the Department of Conservation; six through NIWA; one to Antarctica through Antarctica New Zealand; and two on board Tara, the expedition ship that was once Blake’s boat, Seamaster.
- BLAKE Awards replace the Sir Peter Blake Leadership Awards. There will be a gradual change in focus for the awards, to better acknowledge environmental leadership. While award nominees won’t have to be environmental leaders, they will have made a positive impact on the environment, and contributed to a more sustainable Aotearoa.
“This alignment of the BLAKE brand with the programmes has also enabled us to develop a simplified but dynamic new visual identity that we’re really excited about,” Gibson says.
Pippa Blake says the changes have brought the “whole essence of the organisation back to its original intention – an environmental mission.
“I hope that we are able to reach more people, inspire more people, and really make an impact -particularly on people who wouldn’t otherwise get to know about the environment, particularly the marine environment,” she says.
Sir Peter’s adult children, Sarah-Jane and James, also support the name change.
“They’re totally behind everything that BLAKE is doing,” Pippa says. “They’re having adventures themselves, and making their own way in the world.”
Sarah-Jane, and her husband Alistair Moore, have been working on a hydrographic survey vessel in Dusky Sound, while James continues to film marine documentaries.
Sir Peter would have also approved with BLAKE’s new direction, Pippa has no doubt. “While he was on Seamaster, he really was truly passionate about wanting to reach kids in classrooms all over New Zealand, and he could see that happening,” she says.
“He would have been really excited about using the technology we now can.”
In his final log entry on board Seamaster, on December 4, 2001, Sir Peter wrote: “We have begun, we are underway, we have a passion. We want to make a difference. We hope that you and as many of your friends will join us.”
“It is so poignant, so totally from the heart,” Pippa says.
“I think BLAKE is on the road to achieving that. But it is an ongoing mission.”