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The gaping hole that caused the Rainbow Warrior to sink 30 years ago. Image: Gil Hanly/Greenpeace

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Item: 9339

Mabel Muller DARGAVILLE (Dargaville and District News/Pacific Media Watch): An act of terrorism was perhaps the last thing a country like New Zealand expected back in 1985. The Greenpeace vessel that set its sails on the horizon of protest against French nuclear-testing in the Pacific was bombed on the night of July 10. It was a tragic night at Marsden Wharf. The vessel sank as a result of the bombing by French spies and cost Fernando Pereira, the photographer on board, his life. Thirty years on and the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior still remains one of New Zealand’s most significant historical events. While the ship is now used as a living reef in Matauri Bay in Northland, some of the objects from the tragedy now serve as memorabilia at the Dargaville Museum. Manager Pene McKenzie says most of the objects were regarded as scrap at the time, but former president of the museum, Noel Hilliam, bought them to display at Dargaville Museum. ‘‘They went down and purchased the items because they thought it was too good of an opportunity. That was history.’’ Ship’s masts Dargaville Museum’s permanent exhibition displays some of the objects from the ship and perhaps the most prominent are the ship’s masts. After being refurbished in 2010, the masts still stand overlooking the township, outside the museum. McKenzie said the exhibition attracted a lot of public attention, but especially from young French tourists. ‘‘They’re quite interested in it. ‘‘This is a part of their history that they sort of don’t advertise much over there which, of course, you can understand.’’ McKenzie said the event was still very much significant in New Zealand as the antinuclear legislation ‘‘is still in place today’’. A documentary, Departure and Return, was played at the exhibition during the museum’s 30th birthday bash earelier this month. Some of the Rainbow Warrior memorabilia at the Dargaville Museum: The ship's clock (from left), the masts and a lifebouy. Image: Dargaville News Video below: Mabel Muller talks about the Rainbow Warrior assignment at AUT University.

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