The drive to Gisborne from Auckland to join the Rainbow Warrior felt short. (In actual fact it was not short-largely due to an unfortunate truck and trailer incident involving wool bales all over the show, a handy orchard and a bus load of over- stimulated Hawkes Bay school kids. But that's a whole other blog!)
Mainly the trip didn't feel long because of my rapidly building excitement levels. I was getting back on board the Rainbow Warrior!! I work for Greenpeace Aotearoa and have done for the last 8 years. In that time I have had the honour of sailing on the Warrior three times.
The first time was back in 2000/2001 when we toured NZ talking to people about the potential hazards of GE, and campaigning on the use of GE soy meal in chicken feed. The trip was in summer and the cursed chicken suits that we found ourselves running around in outside KFC stores got really ripe. But there were dramatic direct actions, piles of pressure going on industry, and literally thousands and thousands of regular folks coming on board, soaking up the history of the ship, and telling us about the future they wanted to see for NZ. We won that campaign, largely because of those regular folks, learning a bit from us, getting inspired by the passion that this ship inspires, and then going off into the world and demanding change.
Back to the current trip… we are currently sailing south to Lyttleton; Castle Point is somewhere off the starboard side, hidden in clouds that have been promising to lift all day but haven't quite. Gisborne is behind us. It is the first time in many years we have been to Gisborne and, while we were only there for a day, - a wet and windy weekday at that -the local people came to visit in droves. They left happy. They came on board and for 30 minutes walked around on what must be one of the most famous ships afloat.
On Sunday we will arrive in Christchurch's port of Lyttleton. Unfortunately, people won't be able to come down and be part of this history, for much the same reason we never made it to Tauranga for open-days.
The reason is because, in these two ports the authorities won't let us invite the public on. Something to do with PORT SECURITY. No doubt another tremor from George W's war on terror. Whatever. The Rainbow Warrior has made a name for herself defending the environment, and the rights of people all over the world, being the David to corporate greed's Goliath. In doing this she has become iconic - particularly in New Zealand where her predecessor was sunk by the French Government defending their testing of the most evil weapons humans have ever made. The Warrior is part of New Zealand's history and I feel sad that the people of Christchurch, and Tauranga, and who knows where else in the future, will miss out on coming on board their ship and won't be able to feel the excitement and pride that I do every time I see this beautiful Rainbow Warrior.