Rainbow Warrior Memorial In Matauri Bay New Zealand

Rainbow Warrior Memorial: A Tribute to a Greenpeace Vessel

Discover the significance of the Rainbow Warrior Memorial…

All of the creative Rainbow Warrior memorial tributes were inspired by New Zealand’s and Greenpeace’s attempts to resist nuclear testing and marine mammal harvesting in New Zealand waters. The vessel that initiated the re-surge of support for Greenpeace’s New Zealand missions was the “Rainbow Warrior.” It was an impressive vessel that was about 40 meters long and weighed about 418 tonnes. Greenpeace purchased this 1955 vessel, overhauled it and re-christened it “the Rainbow Warrior.”

The Rainbow Warrior was used primarily as a support vessel for Greenpeace activities. During the early part of 1985, however, this vessel was use to evacuate Marshall Island residents to rescue them from radioactive pollution left over from American nuclear testing. To prevent further radioactive pollution from being created in this delicate ecosystem the vessel was then used to protest and monitor French nuclear testing in French Polynesia. Greenpeace’s plans to interfere with the French nuclear tests were foiled when the French learned about their intentions. In retaliation, the French bombed the Rainbow Warrior while it was docked in Auckland, New Zealand on the 10th of July of the same year.

Green Peace Boat
Reactions to this bombing were not only experienced in New Zealand, but in other areas of the world as well. Rainbow Warrior memorial tributes were created in New Zealand, the United States and in Central and South America. The French were brought to justice and they eventually paid Greenpeace $8.16 million.

Rainbow Warrior memorial tributes have been delivered by a variety of artists, Greenpeace supporters and government actions. Songs like “Bumhole” and “Rainbow Warrior” have been composed to inspire people to continue to support a nuclear free New Zealand and to support animal rights. Bronze sculptures, paintings and other types of New Zealand art have also been inspired by the bombing of the original Rainbow Warrior.

In order to get to the bottom of the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, governmental officials refloated the wreckage and took it to a naval harbor for forensic testing. The damage to the vessel was extensive and it was beyond repair.

Greenpeace decided to sink the wreckage off of the Cavalli Islands in Matauri Bay. Here it now rests as a fish sanctuary and a diving park. This is also the site of the official Rainbow Warrior Memorial. It sits atop of the Matauri Bay Hill overlooking the marine memorial where the ship’s remains rest.

Discrepancies over who was really responsible for the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior surfaced again in the 2005 and 2006. The French government tried to pin at least some of the blame of the British MI6, however, the British denied any involvement. Upon further review of the evidence it was reasonably affirmed that the bombing was directly caused by the French government.

Citation: Memorial Image from Wikipedia

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