Actor Lucy Lawless helped start a peace march which will circle the world before ending in the Andes in January.

The former Warrior Princess marched under a Chinese-style dragon made from the sails of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior - sunk by French agents in Auckland in 1985 - in the Auckland Peace Heritage Walk around central Auckland yesterday.

The walk was also a rehearsal for about 20 international visitors who start their World March of Peace and Non-Violence in Wellington this week.

They will visit more than 90 countries spreading their message of peace and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

One of them, 66-year-old Spanish interpreter Liliana Piastra said it was important to start in New Zealand because of the country's history.

Lawless said it was great to see the diversity of marchers, who included members of women's rights, nuclear free, and animal rights groups as well as Sri Lankan rights protesters.

"All I see is regular people who are about the issue of world peace in its many forms - and good on them."

Waitakere mayor Bob Harvey, MPs Nikki Kaye, Keith Locke and Hone Harawira also joined the march.