Ship Esmeralda concludes successful visit to Wellington
On June 5, the Training Ship Esmeralda arrived in Wellington, the first foreign port that receives her on her 57th Training Cruise. After 26 days at sea, the Esmeralda made her entry into New Zealand’s capital, where she was received by the Ambassador of Chile to New Zealand, Isauro Torres Negri, by the Deputy Commander of the Defence Force, Rear Admiral Jack Steer, the Director of Naval Excellence, Captain Andrew Saunderson of the Royal New Zealand Navy and the Defence Attaché of Chile to New Zealand, Captain Marcelo Urbina Puyó.
A group of compatriots joined the Esmeralda that day, despite the morning chill and the time, they managed to be present to welcome the ship and its crew. There was also a traditional Māori welcoming ceremony to ensure the success of the mission of the ship and its crew.
During her stay in Wellington, from 5 to 9 June, protocol greetings were made to the Mayor of Wellington, Ms Celia Wade-Brown, the Commissioner of Police (equivalent to Director General of Police), Peter Marshall and the Chief of the New Zealand Navy, Admiral Tony Parr.
Among the many activities that were carried out around the visit of the “White Lady” in New Zealand, the Ambassador of Chile and the Commander of the Esmeralda Captain Guillermo Lüttges, invited leading representatives of the New Zealand community to the reception aboard the ship, in which over 200 people attended, among those were the highest authorities of the country, including the New Zealand Minister of Defence Dr Jonathan Coleman, the Secretary of Defence John McKinnon, the Mayor of Wellington, Ms Celia Wade-Brown, as well as parliamentarians from different parties, representatives of the diplomatic world, the art world, and the Chilean community resident in New Zealand.
The crew of the Esmeralda paid tribute to the fallen New Zealanders who fought in various wars (from the First World War to the conflict in Afghanistan), by presenting a wreath at the National War Memorial.
The event “Flavors of Chile” took place on board the Esmeralda, where various entrepreneurs and people dedicated to the food and hospitality industries were invited in order to promote exports of Chilean food products worldwide.
In terms of the relationship with the local community, football competitions were held at Wakefield Park, where they played with teams from the Royal New Zealand Navy and Chilean teams resident in New Zealand. The arbitration was conducted by the sole judge of New Zealand recognized by FIFA, who is originally from Chile.
The crew participated in a traditional day of “kiwi” leisure invited by Evans Bay Yacht and Motor Boat Club, where they sailed and enjoyed a barbecue. Meanwhile, the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club invited the crew to share an enjoyable time with their fellow members at their Club.
Culturally, the Esmeralda Instrumental Band gave a concert at Midland Park in Wellington CBD. The crew visited the National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa and the Museum of Wellington City and Sea.
As usual, the Esmeralda was opened to the public so the local community could get a chance to visit her, she had an average of more than 800 visits a day, not counting the special delegations that requested a guided tour, including yachtsmen and sailing associations, schools and military institutions of Wellington.
On June 9, the elegant Lady White was farewelled by a large number of people who sang the National Anthem with pride and nostalgia for our land, and saw her leave, escorted by several local vessels, including Wellington Police, private yachts and jets greetings of ships and tugs that were there.
With her departure, the Esmeralda left behind many friends in Wellington but gave away a bit of Chile to those who shared with her and her crew the great moments of her visit.