Rainbow Warrior Sinking 30th Anniversary celebrated at Ngā Taonga

Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour after bombing by French secret service agents. (Annual review 1993-1994 page 2) Accession #: 0.85.072.001.01

All French people travelling in New Zealand are faced with awkward and sometimes unpleasant remarks on the Rainbow Warrior Bombing. Even if you were too young, or not even born at the time of the tragedy, you’ll soon get acquainted with it. Yes, like one of my French friend put it into words “We totally fucked up!” but please, stop accusing us! We’re not proud of it. So, lets commemorate this together.

Shameful page in French history: Before midnight on the 10th of July 1985, French secret agents Dominique Prieur and Alain Mafart, planted two bombs on the hull on Greenpeace flagship “The Rainbow Warrior”. The first bombing was supposed to incite the whole crew to escape the ship, but unfortunately, photograph Fernando Pereira, driven by his documentary instinct, stayed to retrieve his photo material and perished in the second bombing.

Some weeks later, the French governement admitted to be responsible for the act. The ship was about to sail to protest against another French Nuclear Testing on Nuclear Testing Zone “Mururoa”. French Governement planned to stop them by any means.

Nuclear Free New Zealand VS French Nuclear Power

This tragedy was regarded by NZ governement as a severe violation of a friendly nation’s sovereignty, and even as a  act  of international terrorism. French and Kiwi diplomacy relationships became highly complicated. From that time on, New Zealand would reinforce its foreign policy strategy with its allies in the Pacific, turning its back from Europe a bit.

Activists weren’t discouraged at all by the bombing. On the contrary, the “Rainbow Warrior” case pushed them to fight more: 1996 – French nuclear testing programme in the Pacific was over.

Film about Rainbow Warrior Bombing at Ngā Taonga

Tonight, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, NZ’s Film Archive screens a documentary on the subject by female artist Claudia Pond Eyley: http://www.ngataonga.org.nz/now-showing/departure-and-return-the-final-journey-of-the-rainbow-warrior/view/2015-07-10

 It’s is a collection of testimonies from women activists that worked on the ship int he 80s, when the events happened. Departure and Return: The Final Journey of the Rainbow Warrior premiered at the NZIFF in 2006, so it must be interesting!

Sally Welly

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