The attack on and sinking of the boat, Rainbow Warrior ended up being a shame for the French Government and a stain on the history of great interactions involving the countries of France and New Zealand (NZ). Back in 1985 NZ then was among the international leaders in the anti-nuclear actions at a time when France had been evaluating nuclear weaponry in the pacific, NZ’s region. This was considered at that time as a cause of humiliation to the French Government. Right before midnight on the night of 10 July 1985, two blasts blew holes through the hull of Greenpeace’s ship, the Rainbow Warrior, that was secured at Marsden Wharf in Auckland in NZ. This was just before the Rainbow Warrior was on her way to a protest towards an organized French nuclear test at Moruroa in the Pacific. A Portuguese national and crew member, Fernando Pereira, was killed by the explosions and the Rainbow Warrior sunk in the Auckland harbour. All other crew on board ended up safely rescued. The ship had been involved in many protest activities over French nuclear testing in the Pacific ocean from its base in Auckland.

rainbow warrior

On the 24th July a pair of French secret service agents, Dominique Prieur and Alain Mafart, had been arrested in NZ and were charged with murder. They eventually pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment, significantly to the huge discomfort from the French government. There was an unknown number of other agents posing as tourists involved who were able to depart the country prior to being found. That the attack had been committed on NZ land by a nation which was supposed to be friendly led to a feeling of appreciable repugnance plus a critical degeneration in relationships in between New Zealand and the French. France to begin with dismissed having any participation with the bombings, however the truth was later revealed by the Le Monde newspaper, declaring that this bombing was authorized by the French President. The French Prime Minister eventually confessed their participation. Quite a few people in politics, including then New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange, called the bombing being an act of terrorism or even state-sponsored terrorism. This resulted in trade issues for New Zealand products being exported to the EU with disturbance in that by France authorities. Twelve months following the bombing the United Nations Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar announced a binding decision by which that NZ would get an apology as well as payment of $13 million from the French govt. France had also been ordered not to hinder New Zealand’s trade negotiations. The agents from France Dominique Prieur and Alain Mafart were to fulfill their sentences in full on Hao Atoll in French Polynesia. Nevertheless, each of them were discharged early on with Marfart getting sent back to France as a result of a supposed illness in 1987 and Dominique Prieur was repatriated in May 1988 as she ended up being pregnant. Both ended up honoured and also promoted on their return back to France. This prompted repugnance in NZ. The French additionally paid $8 million to Greenpeace in damages which they then used to pay for another for the Rainbow Warrior. It also paid a settlement to the Pereira family.

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