Lucy Lawless says she felt compelled to participate in a Greenpeace anti-drilling protest, which ended in her pleading guilty this morning to being unlawfully on a ship.

Lawless, Jan Raoni Hammer, Mike Ross Buchanan, Shayne Panayiotis Comino, Vivienne Rachel Hadlow, Shai Sebastian Naides, Zach Steven Penman and Ilai Amir were initially charged with entering an enclosed area at Port Taranaki without authority and with the intent to commit a crime.

The charges came after the group boarded the drill ship Noble Discoverer at the port in February and spent 77 hours up a 58m tower.

The charge was amended when they appeared before the Auckland District Court this morning.


The eight appeared in the dock together and stood quietly as their lawyer Ron Mansfield entered the pleas on their behalf.

He asked that no conviction be formally entered yet to allow the possibility of a discharge without conviction.

They were bailed to reappear in New Plymouth District Court on September 14.
Speaking outside court, Lawless was adamant the protest had an impact, saying 470,000 supported the action.

"Yeah, I think we've helped kick off a great movement.''

She was unsure whether the court action would affect her ability to travel for her career.

"I don't believe so but we'll see how that plays out. Certainly I stand by what we did and our need to do it. Peaceful action's the only way forward.''

She had no plans to repeat her actions; "but I had to do what I had to do''.

She said her association with Greenpeace would continue but she was not sure what form it would take.

"We want to tell (those responsible for deep sea oil drilling) absolutely under no circumstances is this a good idea. They are robbing our children of their birth right to a clean and healthy planet and they know it.''

Greenpeace said the group boarded the Shell-contracted ship to prevent it heading to the Chukchi Sea, off the coast of Alaska, to drill three exploratory oil wells.