25 years after the Rainbow Warrior

Press release - July 2, 2010
On the 10th of July 2010, it will be 25 years since the Rainbow Warrior was sunk by French spies in Auckland’s harbour, killing Greenpeace photographer Fernando Pereria. The Rainbow Warrior was targeted because of Greenpeace’s anti-nuclear campaign and plans to sail to French Polynesia to protest against the French testing of nuclear weapons.

Greenpeace will mark the anniversary by taking a vital step in the escalation of its campaign to prevent catastrophic climate change. On the day of the anniversary in Poland the keel of the Rainbow Warrior III will be laid. The organisation's first purpose-built ship, it will enable Greenpeace to take its technical, advocacy, and actions work into a new era.

"Greenpeace has been at the cutting edge when it comes to threats against the planet," says Greenpeace New Zealand's Executive Director, Bunny McDiarmid. "When the French bombed our ship in 1985, nuclear war was the world's greatest threat, and climate change was only just beginning to be understood. That was 25 years ago and still we have not seen the necessary response from governments to prevent dangerous climate change," she says.

"It's going to take real action - not just on the part of Greenpeace, with the Rainbow Warrior III, but also the world - if we are going to have any chance of preventing dangerous climate change," says McDiarmid, who was a deckhand on board the first Rainbow Warrior when it was bombed.

"The good news is that we know what causes climate change and exactly what needs to be done to stop it - and many of the technologies we need already exist. What is lacking is the political will at both the national and international level to put in place policies that will enable the necessary emission reductions and a shift in attitude to the way we run our economies so they are not at the expense of our environment. Climate change is the latest and strongest indication yet that we need to change the way in which we are living on this planet," says McDiarmid.

Other contacts: Jay Harkness, Greenpeace NZ communications and media, 021 495 216

Notes: Bunny McDiarmid is available for interviews between now and the anniversary. She can give a first-hand account of the night’s events, talk about the Rainbow Warrior III, describe how both she and Greenpeace have changed since the bombing, and what the future holds for the organisation she has worked in for so long. Greenpeace New Zealand will be marking the occasion by holding an intimate event in its Mt Eden office on the night of the 10th.

Exp. contact date: 2010-08-02 00:00:00