The new Rainbow Warrior will visit Northland again next month, making the region its first port of call as it arrives to celebrate the Government's recent oil exploration ban and to promote clean energy opportunities.

The Greenpeace flagship is on its way to New Zealand for a tour of the country and will first stop at Matauri Bay, where the original Rainbow Warrior lies in its final resting place after it was bombed by French secret agents in Auckland in 1985.

It will arrive in Matauri Bay on September 10, before visiting Auckland, Whangaparaoa, Napier, Wellington, Taranaki, Kaikōura, and Dunedin.

The new Rainbow Warrior sails in to Auckland on her first visit to New Zealand. Photo / Nigel Marple
The new Rainbow Warrior sails in to Auckland on her first visit to New Zealand. Photo / Nigel Marple

In April, New Zealand made international headlines when it became one of the first countries in the world to ban new offshore oil and gas exploration licences.


Greenpeace climate campaigner Kate Simcock said the ban followed a decade of escalating public pressure against the oil industry.

"We've seen hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets, lobbying the government, signing petitions, emailing oil companies, sailing in flotillas, and swimming in front of oil ships," Simcock said.

"New Zealand's oil and gas ban is a huge win for people power, and for the climate. Four million square kilometres of ocean is now off limits to the world's biggest dirty energy companies."

Greenpeace considered the ban significant and was sending the Rainbow Warrior to help celebrate with New Zealanders.

Called the Oil Free Seas tour, the ship will travel around the country. Simcock said as well as celebrating the oil win, Greenpeace and the Rainbow Warrior crew would hold events in communities about New Zealand's transition to clean energy.

"New Zealand has led the world on climate action with the ban on new offshore oil and gas permits, but our work has only just started. Despite the climate crisis and the obvious need to rapidly wean ourselves off dirty energy, oil companies with existing licences to explore and drill could still have a presence here for decades to come," she said.

"We're in the midst of a new age of technology, and clean energy is our trump card in the fight against climate change.

"By making significant investment in a new clean and smart electricity system for New Zealand, we could make dirty energy obsolete quite quickly. New Zealand could be an oil-free nation."


Matauri Bay was the final resting place of the original Rainbow Warrior, which was bombed in 1985 by the French Secret Service in retaliation for protests against France's Pacific nuclear testing programme.

In 1987, New Zealand became the first country in the world to declare itself nuclear free.