After my attempt two days ago to shatter the glass Blake mausoleum project, my boss was moved to ask had I ever supported anything in my life? Always one for a challenge, here goes.
Instead of spending the planned $10 million on a lifeless coffin on stilts, why not honour Sir Peter by buying Kaikoura Island and saving this Hauraki Gulf treasure from falling into foreign hands?
It's hard to think of a better project through which to link the man's famous years as a yachting legend with his unfulfilled plans to follow in Jacques Cousteau's shoes and save the planet.
Kaikoura Island, at 564ha, is the seventh-largest island in the gulf, nestling just off Great Barrier Island at Port Fitzroy, providing a sheltered mecca for boaties which attracts some 10,000 yachts and pleasure craft each summer.
That's the yachting link and I'm sticking to it. As for Sir Peter's plans to devote his life to protecting and preserving the natural environment, well if ever a natural gem needed saving, Kaikoura Island is it. And as they say, charity begins at home.
I confess I hadn't given Kaikoura much thought since the speculation over summer that one of the America's Cup billionaires then in town was planning to buy it. It turned out to be a beat-up on the part of the real estate company marketing the place.
Then, yesterday, I got a call from Jim Dart, retired Auckland University town planning senior lecturer and now secretary of the New Zealand Native Forests Restoration Trust. His organisation had just met and decided to make buying Kaikoura Island its next project and perhaps I could help.
How much? He said, $10 million, give or take a penny or two.
I thought I could manage a penny or two. As for the $10 million, well the only people I knew talking that sort of cash at the moment were the promoters of the Blake memorial, Sports Minister Trevor Mallard and Auckland Mayor John Banks. I sniffed the synergy immediately.
Having whacked them both around the ears about the glass box project, I suspect they're unlikely to be receptive to any alternative I might bring up, but even they will have to admit it's got a bit more heart and vision and feel-good about it than their imprisoned yacht scheme.
Blake's dream was to save endangered parts of the planet for future generations and to educate the youth of the world about the fragility of the eco-system. Where better to start than at home on Kaikoura Island?
The home of endangered brown teal and kaka, its natural landscape has been largely degraded by more than a century of farming. Fallow deer were brought in in 1934 and remain, along with wild pigs. Feral goats were released in the late 1980s, but luckily were eradicated in 1993.
Also present are wild cats, kiore and ship rats. Isolated pockets of coastal forest remain. Two more recent additions are a cell phone tower and a small airstrip.
With the vision of a Blake though, or an old greenie like Jim Dart and his trust, it would be possible to see the pests removed and a transformation of the sort that has taken place on Tiritiri Matangi and Kapiti Island ensue. A place where the thousands of volunteers who transformed Tiritiri could continue their work.
The island was last up for sale in 1995 but, despite the work of activists like present regional councillor Mike Lee, no public body was prepared to bring it into public ownership.
It sold to a New Zealander for around $2 million.
It's now back on the market at somewhere in the vicinity of $10 million. Just over a month ago Conservation Minister Chris Carter said he had been talking with the regional council and would consider pulling together a purchase deal between DOC, the ARC, local iwi and good old "corporate donors". Both the minister and ARC chairwoman Gwen Bull said they had no money.
Which gets back to the "corporate donors". The same ones, no doubt, that Mr Banks and Mr Mallard are trying to touch up for $6 million-odd for their yacht-in-a-bottle folly.
Could I suggest saving Kaikoura Island might be a sexier proposition, marketing wise? It would also be a much more living monument to a man of action than the official plan.
Of course if it doesn't swim - or should I say sail - as an alternative memorial to Blake, could I still commend the Kaikoura project as one to get behind.
The native forest restoration trust are no fly-by-nighters or charity night show ponies. They originally got together to save the Pureora Forest in the early 1980s. Since then this quiet bunch of volunteers have raised more than $3 million and acquired 22 reserves totalling in area, 5453ha. The reserves are everywhere from the Far North of the North Island to a wetland in Golden Bay at the top of the South Island.
Kaikoura is by far their most expensive project. If you want to help, feel free to push the Blake memorial alternative with our masters at the Town Hall and the Beehive. You could also contact Jim Dart at (09) 630-2361.