Title / object name
|Maker ||Role ||Date |
|Greenpeace ||creating agency ||circa 1985 |
Plastic wrapped printed paper and metal badgeMaterials
metal, paper, plastic, ink
|Overall ||43 (Height) x 43 (Width) x 6 (Width/Depth) mm|
Gift of Ken Thomas, 2008
This badge effectively combines a rainbow as a symbol of the anti-nuclear movement with the brutal bombing of the Rainbow Warrior – a Greenpeace protest ship. The Rainbow Warrior was moored in Auckland in 1985 when two bombs ripped through it. The ship’s photographer died retrieving his camera.
Two French government agents were caught and imprisoned for manslaughter. The bombing was intended to stop the Rainbow Warrior protesting against French nuclear testing at Moruroa atoll.
The attack galvanised the anti-nuclear movement in New Zealand, and NewZealand–French relations soured. France wanted its agents back and threatened to block New Zealand’s trade access to European markets if this didn’t happen. With important export markets at stake, politics won out over principles. The New Zealand government agreed to the agents being transferred to Hao atoll, where they served reduced sentences before returning to France as heroes.
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.