In my last blog I promised a sunken ship. Well, when I was young and lot more radical than I am now, 'Remember Moruroa' was my battle cry whenever I wanted to rail against state interference or intolerance.
Cast your mind back, if you can to 1985. Back then the French were planning to test nuclear weapons on the remote island of Moruroa in French Polynesia. Greenpeace, along with a number of other organisations, were hell bent on stopping the tests and whilst The Rainbow Warrior was in Auckland harbour it was sunk by French secret agents, killing a photographer on board.
It was an act of state terrorism and had completely the opposite effect to that which the French hoped. Instead of crippling Greenpeace as intended, people like me got involved with supporting them and it established Greenpeace as a force to be reckoned with.
Rainbow Warrior was re floated for forensic tests but was deemed irreparable so she was towed to Matauri Bay and scuttled near the Cavelli Islands where she is now both an artificial reef and a dive site. Perhaps a fitting end for such a vessel.
As a lifelong Greenpeace supporter I just had to go and visit the bay, which is just simply stunning. A long sweeping beach backed by hills covered in vegetation. We climbed up the Pukepika headland which affords spectacular views over the channel between the bay and Motukawanui Island, the largest of the Cavelli group. At the summit is a sculpture dedicated to the Rainbow Warrior and designed by a Kerikeri sculptor, Chris Booth. It's quite an arresting sight and seems to be a very fitting tribute for the vessel, the peop[le who manned her and the photographer who lost his life in a good cause.
Descending the hill we took lunch on a near deserted beach and whilst Jane made do with a paddle I went for a proper swim in the surf. It was brass monkeys and I didn't last long in the water but it was very invigorating. The whole coastline around Matauri is full of little bays, sparkling in the late spring light. It was a wonderful day out, full of reflection and reflections.