The Maiden Factor Blog

Maiden is a Global Ambassador for the Empowerment of Girls through Education


Maiden, on her new mission to raise awareness and funds for girls’ education around the globe, left Sydney on 25th April for the 1,275 miles to New Zealand with an unforgettable official welcome taking place this morning (Saturday 4th May) at Viaduct Harbour in Auckland.

Maiden sails into the blue. A calm day and a foggy sky

On a foggy, windless morning Maiden met two legendary former Whitbread yachts, Steinlager 2 and Lion New Zealand out at sea and was escorted back into Viaduct Harbour.

Maiden, Steinlager 2 and Lion NZ sail on a calm sea

Children and teachers from the Auckland Girls Grammar School (AGGS) were invited by the NZ Sailing Trust to sail on the famous boats with Kiwi Ocean Race sailor, Bianca Cook.

Sharon Ferris-Choat and Bianca Cook stand on the dock

When the three boats came together, the fog lifted, and the girls sang a ‘Te Aroha’ (about love and peace) to Maiden.

Students stand on Lion NZ, singing.

The traditional Maori welcome continued when the boats berthed with a welcome ceremony known as a pōwhiri, performed by the AGGS students of the tangata whenua (people of this land) welcoming the manuhiri (visitors to the shores) of Tamaki Makaurau within Aotearoa (New Zealand).

Students stand waiting in traditional Powhiri dress. The Maiden crew sit on chairs to the left, on a red carpet

Steinlager 2 was skippered by Peter Blake in the 1989/90 Whitbread, when both Maiden and Steinlager 2 won the leg into Auckland in their respective divisions. Lion NZ and Steinlager 2 now provide youth development sailing programme opportunities for up to 2,000 young New Zealanders each year with the New Zealand Sailing Trust.

Steinlager on a foggy sea. Students sit on the side of the boat with their legs over the edge