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Full house at Rainbow Warrior movie remembering the fight against nuclear weapons testing

The Rainbow Warriors of Waiheke Island is a  film by Suzanne Raes, made in 2009. It records the memories of 6 crew members of the Greenpeace vessel which sailed to Iceland to oppose whaling and to the South Pacific to stop the French nuclear testing programme. The end came in 1985 with the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior by French Secret Service spies. One crew member was murdered.  The bombing boosted the movement to ban nuclear weapons from the South Pacific. At the time of its sinking the ship had been about to sail to Moruroa in French Polynesia to protest against continuing nuclear testing by the French on that isolated atoll.  

The film interposes archival footage of the adventures of the Rainbow Warrior and its crew. At 1 hour 30 it is a compelling story of courage and committment. 

Rien Achterberg, one of the crew members, shared his memories and reflections on this part of our anti-nuclear history at a showing organised by Peace Action Network and Quakers in Nelson earlier this month. A full house gathered to hear Rien, ask plenty of questions and watch the movie. Right now Peace Action is hoping to organise another showing in Motueka.  

It was very timely to be able to see the movie in the same month as Hiroshima and Nagasaki Days which were commemorated by Quakers in Nelson and others at a Peace Vigil on Saturday August 7th . 

On 6 August 1945 US forces dropped the first atomic bomb “Little Boy” on Hiroshima leaving 100,000 -180,000 people dead and 63% of buildings destroyed. Three days later a larger bomb “Fat Man” was dropped on Nagasaki leaving 50,000-100,000 dead and 22.7% of its buildings consumed by fire. Thousands more were hit with generational defects that are plaguing a section of the populace to this day.

We remembered the men, women and children who lost their lives or were harmed at Hiroshima, Nagasaki and through nuclear testing. We remembered all people who have suffered the violence of war and those who live in conflict zones.

Hiroshima & Nagasaki Days commemorate the tragedy 76 years ago which completely destroyed the two cities and left the country to deal with a dreadful fate in its aftermath. They remind the world that all wars are terrible, and nuclear warfare even more so. It reminds thousands of politicians, diplomats, and envoys around the world that diplomacy is the only option while navigating geopolitics in the 21st century. Nine countries in the entire world currently possess more than 13,000 nuclear weapons and have failed to sign the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty.

Peace Action Netork Whakatu

A group of Nelson Quakers started this group (Peace Action Network Whakatu) in February  2021 because we get bigger participation than if we did things as Quakers. Our events are held in the Nelson Quaker Meeting House. 

Are you interested in hosting a showing of this film?

Contact Rien and ask about hosting a film showing in your area.  Email:  rienachterberg@gmail.com