The Rainbow Warrior has returned to Aotearoa, its "spiritual home", and will be open to the public in downtown Auckland this weekend.

The Greenpeace protest ship is docked at Princes Wharf and public open days are taking place today and tomorrow.

Greenpeace New Zealand senior campaign adviser Steve Abel said Kiwis had a special relationship to the Rainbow Warrior after the ship was bombed by French Secret Service agents - in an attempt to prevent future protests over nuclear testing in the Pacific - while docked in Auckland Harbour in 1985. Crew member Fernando Pereira died.

Greenpeace NZ senior campaign advisor Steve Abel leads a talk on deck during the Rainbow Warrior public open day in Auckland today. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Greenpeace NZ senior campaign advisor Steve Abel leads a talk on deck during the Rainbow Warrior public open day in Auckland today. Photo / Jason Oxenham

"We sort of think of New Zealand as the spiritual home of the Rainbow Warrior, even though it's an international ship ... [France] tried to stop the movement against nuclear weapons but it only deepened our resolve."

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Abel echoed Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in calling climate change "the nuclear-free issue of our generation", and called for community support for the fight.

April Wood, 3, rings the bell on the Rainbow Warrior. Photo / Jason Oxenham
April Wood, 3, rings the bell on the Rainbow Warrior. Photo / Jason Oxenham

"We need to stand with similar resolve to ensure that we deal with climate change and transition from fossil fuels to clean energy."

The visit was to celebrate those who helped stop offshore oil and gas exploration - Ardern announced in April the Government would issue no new exploration permits for the offshore oil and gas fields, Abel said.

Lee Dunn, 6, in the captain's seat of the Rainbow Warrior. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Lee Dunn, 6, in the captain's seat of the Rainbow Warrior. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Greenpeace were also calling on the Government to back the clean energy transition by installing solar panels and batteries in half a million homes by 2030, he said.

The Rainbow Warrior leaves Auckland on Monday to travel to Whangaparaoa Bay, East Cape.