Fair Winds – Jane Hindle retires from the Trust after 25 years

By Sasja |
 February 1, 2022 |
...
From dream wedding to shaping the future of the Bay of Island’s tall ship

If you’ve ever spent any time in the Bay of Islands, you will undoubtedly know the tall ship, the R. Tucker Thompson. Twenty-five years ago, it was no different for Jane Hindle and her then fiancé. Seeing the ship taking part in the Tall Ships Race, they knew immediately that this would be the perfect location for a dream wedding. Little did they know this was also the start of a lifetime commitment to the ship, her crew and the R. Tucker Thompson Sail Training Trust.

After several years of corporate work in Auckland, Jane and her partner realised it was time for something different. They moved to the Bay of Islands on a 26-foot launch for a holiday, and seeing the Tucker, as she is affectionately known to the crew, they immediately fell in love. Jane wrote requesting a wedding on board and went on to became a business mentor for Russell Harris, owner of the R. Tucker Thompson. This in turn led to a more permanent role that would last 22 years and see Jane become a Kaitiaki and an integral part of the ship’s journey.

One of the biggest achievements during Jane’s time with the R. Tucker Thompson was working with Russell Harris in 2006 to set up the R. Tucker Thompson Sail Training Trust. This business model still exists today with the goal of balancing social needs and sustainability. But it has not always been smooth sailing: shortly after the trust was set up, the 2007 Global Financial Crisis hit.  With not much of a reputation yet established, the Trust struggled to get the financial support it needed. Finding funding became very hard and it was largely due to Jane’s passion to keep the ship sailing that it survived. By 2012 the worst was over, and the Trust was operating 16 youth voyages per year, funded by successful tourism sailings.

It was particularly important to Jane that the Tucker took part in Tuia 250, an event held in 2019, which celebrated the Pacific voyaging heritage and commemorated the first encounters with Europeans. Ships like the R Tucker Thompson, a gaff rigged tops’l schooner, were built by Māori in the North, and Māori and European sailed on them together to conduct trade prior to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. The ship epitomises the interwoven dual heritage of this country, a fact that Jane has reminded trainees of in her Mihi to them prior to each youth voyage.

When asked about her best memories, Jane does not hesitate to say the Tucker has offered her the opportunity to experience something she could never have dreamed of. She also says that the best part of her job has been about changing lives for the better, especially those youth who completely turn their lives around after spending just a week on board. As Executive Trustee of the Tucker, Jane’s passion and love for the ship has been fundamental in its current success.

Jane is a firm believer in doing what interests you and after 25 years of fun and hard work at R. Tucker Thompson Sail Training Trust, it is time to retire and find a new interest.  She’s not sure what she will do next but says, ‘’We are in charge of our own destiny”.

The Trust and crew wish Jane all the best with her new adventures. Thank you for all the hard work throughout the years. Fair winds Jane!

Jane’s wedding on board the R. Tucker Thompson

Jane’s wedding on board the R. Tucker Thompson

 

Jane Hindle and Russell Harris on the ship

On board to celebrate the handover of the ship to the Trust in 2006: Jane, Russell Harris, his niece Aiden, and son Riley.

 

Jane giving a Mihi to a group of local youths.