Man who smashed the America's Cup sells 'souvenirs' of his actions

The 1997 police mugshot of Benjamin Nathan after he smashed the America's Cup.
The 1997 police mugshot of Benjamin Nathan after he smashed the America's Cup.

The man who smashed up the America's Cup more than 20 years ago is now selling the shirt he wore during the attack on Trade Me.

Maori activist Benjamin Nathan, who was then 28, walked into Auckland's Royal Yacht Squadron on March 14, 1997 and took to the sailing trophy with a sledgehammer, whilst chanting in Maori.

Today he's listed the Maori sovereignty T-shirt he says he was wearing at the time, on the online auction website.

Penehamine Patuawa, formerly Benjamin Nathan, pictured in 2013.
Penehamine Patuawa, formerly Benjamin Nathan, pictured in 2013.



However, Nathan said the sledgehammer was taken from him and destroyed, so it's not available for sale.

The starting price for the T-shirt and a number of other items, which also include a piece of paper with a quote from Theodore Roosevelt, a US coin he got on the day, a DVD of one of his films, the edition of the Herald printed the day after and numerous other interviews and articles about his actions, was $200.

This evening the listing had been viewed more than 20 times - though zero bids were being made.

Nathan said he was selling the items to raise funds for a film he wanted to make.

The America's Cup was so seriously damaged that it took the silversmiths at Garrards, which had originally manufactured it in 1848, several months to restore it.
The America's Cup was so seriously damaged that it took the silversmiths at Garrards, which had originally manufactured it in 1848, several months to restore it.

Following the 1997 attack on the cup Nathan was arrested and charged with willfully damaging the cup. He pled not guilty and elected to undergo a trial by jury.

His defence was based, in part, on his belief that none of the money generated by the America's Cup would reach Maori - who were over-represented in prisons and dole queues.

After a three-day trial he was found guilty and sentenced to two years and 10 months' jail - on top of a 19-month term he was already serving for aggravated robbery.

The cup was repaired in England.

- NZ Herald

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