The bombing of the Rainbow Warrior

11 December 2019

Rainbow WarriorIn 1985, New Zealand was emerging as a leader of the anti-nuclear movement. We’d made it clear that New Zealand opposed nuclear testing in the South Pacific. 

Greenpeace’s anti-nuclear flagship vessel, the Rainbow Warrior, had taken part in protests against French nuclear testing in the Pacific. The ship was moored in Auckland’s Harbour, preparing for its next protest campaign at Mururoa Atoll, in the Tuamotu Archipelago.

On 10 July 1985, French Secret Service agents detonated two bombs on the Rainbow Warrior.

The explosion sunk the ship, killing one crew member and injuring several others. Prime Minister Lange initially called it “a sordid act of international state-backed terrorism”.

The bombing was meant to scare us. Instead, it united us as a country. It cemented our nuclear-free position.


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By Rachel Southby

Rachel is our Content Specialist. She loves words, coffee, books and shoes. Not necessarily in that order. She's also interested in how the power of consumer choice can lead to positive changes in business and industry.