Greenpeace executive director Russel Norman has escaped conviction over a protest against an oil industry survey ship.

He was charged with obstructing the ship off the coast of New Zealand, forcing it to stop its seismic blasting work.

Norman and another climate activist, Sara Howell, have been discharged without conviction at the Napier District Court.

Greenpeace said the pair had acted to stop the world's largest oil and gas exploration ship searching for fossil fuels off the Wairarapa coast.


They faced charges laid by the Ministry of Business, Innovation, & Employment after the April 2017 action to confront the Amazon Warrior.

"We're thrilled with this verdict. We see this as a major win not just for us, but for the whole movement of people fighting against fossil fuels," Norman said.

"We love this planet and our kids, and we'll continue to fight to protect them from oil companies that want to destroy the climate in order to make profits.

"The science is clear - if we want our kids to have a safe climate, we can't afford to burn most of the oil, gas, and coal we've already discovered. It makes no sense to look for more."

Charges laid against Greenpeace for the action were dropped by MBIE several months ago.

The environmental organisation had crowdfunded a boat, Taitu, to confront the Amazon Warrior 60 nautical miles out to sea. Norman and Howell swam in front of it, stopping it from searching for oil and gas for the day.

Howell said it was encouraging to see how effective peaceful protest could be.

"I needed to take action because all of the life on this planet - in its oceans, mountains, rivers, forests, and cities - is marvellous and brilliant. It is delicately balanced and too special to destroy."


"Peaceful civil disobedience makes change happen."