The yacht on which Sir Peter Blake was killed by pirates has sailed into Whangarei Harbour on a high tide for repairs.

There was no fanfare or accompanying flotilla as Tara, formerly know as Seamaster, reached New Zealand shores for the first time since the death of the Kiwi yachtsman and environmentalist 16 years ago.

The impressive 36 metre aluminium grey hull and towering twin masts cut an impressive figure as she glided into dock at Oceania Marine Ltd just after midday on Sunday.

Sir Peter and his crew had started a five-year journey on Seamaster as part of blakexpeditions when he was killed while monitoring environment change on the Amazon River on December 5, 2001.


His aim was to visit ecologically sensitive parts of the planet "to make a difference" with a focus on water.

The round-the-world sailor, America's Cup winner and global adventurer was only a year into the expedition when he was shot dead at the age of 53 after 'river rats' stormed the boat in Brazil. Trying to protect his crew, Sir Peter was shot twice, in the back and the chest.

Tara will undergo some refurbishment work while in Whangarei before sailing to Auckland where she will be officially welcomed home on July 1 with a full schedule of celebrations and events in the Viaduct Harbour, which will honour Tara's work and Blake's on-going legacy to leadership and the environment through the Sir Peter Blake Trust.

The flotilla will include Sir Peter's victorious round-the-world boat Steinlager 2 and the waka Aotearoa One.

After a nine-day stint in Auckland Tara will return to Whangarei to have more work done and be hauled out of the water.

The crew will then continue on her voyage completing an oceanographic voyage studying coral reefs in the Pacific Ocean. The second half of the expedition goes through South-East Asia to Japan.

Tara was built to withstand crushing ice, gale force winds and rough seas. She can withstand temperatures to minus 40 degrees Celsius.

Since 2003 the schooner has travelled 300,000km across the world's oceans. They have completed 10 expeditions to study and understand the impacts of climate and ecological changes on the ocean.