Object: Badge, ’ANZUS’
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New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone Committee (producer), early 1980s, New Zealand
|Materials||tin, paper, plastic|
x 5mm (Depth)
Overall: 5mm (Height)
|Credit line||Gift of Anne Else, 2004|
This badge suggests how New Zealand's obligations as a member of Anzus bring the threat of nuclear catastrophe to its shores through visits by nuclear-powered or -armed vessels.
In 1951, New Zealand signed the Anzus treaty, a mutual defence agreement, with Australia and the United States. Anzus was a response to the sense of insecurity created by the Cold War, and an acknowledgment of the US as an important ally. During World War II, the US had played a key role in defending the Pacific while New Zealand troops were in Europe. The new alliance also reflected Britain’s decline as a world power.
From the 1970s, New Zealanders become increasingly anti-nuclear and many protested against US navy visits. Many New Zealanders felt that the ideal defence scenario was a nuclear-free policy within the Anzus treaty. But when the country became officially nuclear free in 1987, the US reacted by suspending its Anzus obligations to New Zealand.
The visual culture of anti-nuclear protest often took form in a range of popular media, including banners, T-shirts, and badges. Badges were accessible, mass-produced objects, cheap to make and purchase, easily disseminated, and effective in conveying political messages.
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