The killer of Sir Peter Blake has asked for forgiveness 16 years after he shot and killed the New Zealand national hero.

Ricardo Colares Tavares, now 38, has given his first at-length interview with foreign media to Fairfax Media NZ after almost two decades in a prison in Brazil.

Speaking with journalist Sam Cowie from an administration block at the Instituto de Administracao Penitenciaria do Amapa, Tavares message to Blake's family was a simple "I'm sorry".

"There is nothing else I can say," he said in the Sunday Star Times feature.

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Sir Peter, aged 53, was shot and killed by armed intruders who boarded his "blakexpeditions" vessel Seamaster, anchored off Macapa at the mouth of the Amazon River on December 5, 2001.

Tavares and his gang of water-borne thugs boarded Sir Peter's boat, collected money and personal belongings from the nine people aboard, and shot Blake twice in the back.

In his interview with the Sunday Star Times Tavares said he has lingering regrets about killing the man that, to him, was just another wealthy tourist.

"It wasn't the end that I planned, but it happened, and I'm here doing my time."

In June 2002, Tavares was sentenced to 36 years in prison, while his accomplices received sentences of up to 26 years. He is the only one that remains in prison.

When asked about the killing he told Fairfax: "I regret it very much, it wasn't my intention.

"It was other factors that took me that day," he said

"I don't know who will receive this message, but I don't have anything else to ask, except my forgiveness.

"There were so many losses during this time, and these losses we don't get back from one day to another."

Sir Peter Blake with yacht Seamaster in the background in Antarctica. Photo / Ivor Wilkin
Sir Peter Blake with yacht Seamaster in the background in Antarctica. Photo / Ivor Wilkin

The Sunday Star Times feature stated while Tavares accepts his crime, and seemed to show remorse, he claimed to have been a victim of a sensationalist press coverage, as well as some unfair treatment from the police, and said he never got to tell his side of the story.

"I was exploited, my family was exploited by a sensationalist press that didn't have ethics, even in here, in prison, we have ethics that we follow," he said.

"Lots of things happened at that time weren't taken into account and weren't allowed to be said, I didn't get the chance."

The article stated that aside from the infamy that Blake's murder brought Tavares, he is not your average Brazilian prisoner.

Journalist Sam Cowie described his family as an upper middle class business-owning family, that even has a street named after them in their town.

Tavares is said to have dropped out of school at a young age and was sent to a rehabilitation clinic for drug use at the age of 16.

After leaving the clinic, before his treatment ended, he is said to have fell in with a bad crowd and began offending to support his drug habit.

"My reason for entering the world of crime wasn't financial, it was something different," he told Fairfax.

During his time in behind bars, Fairfax reported that Tavares has tried to dig and blow his way out of prison in two escape attempts, and committed armed robbery while on day release.

He is scheduled to be released in 2023.

Tavares told Fairfax he wants to study and plans to live with his family, including his 14-year-old daughter.

He is said to be writing a book in order to tell his side of the story, and told Fairfax he wants to publish it when he is released.

"It will have a lot to reveal" he said.

Blake's life has been honoured in New Zealand through the youth leadership trust that bears his name and New Zealand's love of the America's Cup.