PMC Video+Text: Peace activists sparked NZ’s strong nuclear-free Pacific stance

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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Item: 9306: Report by Alistar Kata.

AUCKLAND (Pacific Media Centre/Pacific Media Watch): Activist movements in New Zealand through the 1980s helped spark the change needed for the country’s nuclear-free stance in the Pacific.

With protests, such as those that happened with the Rainbow Warrior, bombed by French secret agents on 10 July 1985, New Zealand was able to stand up for smaller Pacific nations.

Pacific Media Centre director Professor David Robie says the country was standing up to the bigger countries.

“What pushed NZ in the direction it did with the nuclear free approach … was the masses of activism, of just ordinary people, people getting out on their boats on Auckland harbour for example,” he says in a new video report released today by the Pacific Media Centre.

“It was people rising up and saying, look, we don’t want this, we want to be independent, we want to have our voice.”

Selwyn Manning, editor of eveningreport.nz, says the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior brought the nation together.

“It galvanised the resolve of the whole country to fight back against this and certainly politically for that idea to be entrenched in our legislation.”

But in today’s political environment, independent filmmaker Philip Shingler, producer of the 1988 documentary Niuklia Fri Pasifik, says it’s difficult to keep the media interested in these issues.

“It’s very interesting that television commissioning editors … have said to me quite often, ‘well we’ve done the Pacific this year’, and I say, ‘well this is a third of the planet”.

Auckland University of Technology jiurnalism and television students have been researching and reporting on the Rainbow Warrior as a prelude to the 30th anniversary of the bombing.

A microsite has been established by Little Island Press as testimony to the humanitarian voyage to Rongelap in the Marshall Islands in May 1985.

Niuklia Fri Pasifik at NZ On Screen

Eyes of Fire microsite

Creative Commons LicenceThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand Licence.

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