A Serendipitous Story: The Rainbow Warrior

Rainbow Warrior-051

The sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, codenamed Opération Satanique,[1] was an operation by the “action” branch of the French foreign intelligence services, the Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure (DGSE), carried out on 10 July 1985. During the operation, two operatives sank the flagship of the Greenpeace fleet, the Rainbow Warrior in the port of Auckland, New Zealand on its way to a protest against a planned French nuclear test inMoruroa. Fernando Pereira, a photographer, drowned on the sinking ship.

France initially denied responsibility, but two French agents were captured and charged with arson, conspiracy to commit arson, willful damage, and murder. As the truth came out, the scandal resulted in the resignation of the French Defence Minister Charles Hernu.

As part of a plea bargain, the two agents pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were sentenced to ten years in prison, but in fact spent just over two years confined to the French island of Hao before being freed by their government in breach of its treaty obligation.[2]


In January 2007 my family and I were in Auckland when the Rainbow Warrior was in port.  Not the original one, which was bombed in Auckland Harbour on 10th July 1985 – 30 years ago now.

I remember the bombing really well.  We couldn’t believe that terrorism had reached our shores.  And it was later found to be sanctioned by the French government.  The death of  the Portuguese-Dutch photographer, Fernando Pereira was lost among all the anger at France.

Image result for rainbow warrior bombing

It changed our policies – The failure of western leaders to condemn this violation of a friendly nation’s sovereignty caused a great deal of change in New Zealand’s foreign and defence policy.[11] New Zealand distanced itself from its traditional ally, the United States, and built relationships with small South Pacific nations, while retaining excellent relations with Australia, and to a lesser extent, the United Kingdom.

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For me personally it had some long term ramifications.  A couple of years later in 1987 I left New Zealand to travel to Europe.  Entering France now meant having to get a visa, which was only valid for a short term and was rather costly.  Our Australian neighbours, along with the Canadians and Americans on my tour didn’t need to  obtain visas.  It also meant long waits at the borders while we were looked at very carefully.

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It took a long time for relationships to thaw out between France and New Zealand.  Even now we are still dancing around each other a bit.

The Rainbow Warrior was refloated for forensic examination. She was deemed irreparable and scuttled at 34.9748°S 173.9349°E in Matauri Bay, near the Cavalli Islands, on 12 December 1987, to serve as a dive wreck and fish sanctuary.[10] Her masts had been removed and put on display at the Dargaville Maritime Museum.

I prefer to see the dove carrying the olive leaf on a floating ship.

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I found these photos while digging through my archives this morning and thought they would make a good photo story for Marilyn’s challenge over at SERENDIPITY.


Thanks for visiting.

Copyright Raewyn Forbes


One Word Photo Challenge: Hail

After a heavy storm-6648

I have just spent some time digging deep into my archives to find suitable photos for Jennifer’s challenge over at Jennifer Nichole Wells.  This series is all about the weather.  So far I have managed to find some photos of snow, frost, tsunamis and sandstorms.  But this week I am stumped.  I have just realised that we don’t actually have much hail where I live.

So what to do.  Well, I have found these photos and I am going to ask you to imagine that it has just hailed and the ice has melted and the reflections are what is left behind.

After a heavy storm-6656

The clouds have cleared and the light is sharp and crisp.  The reflections are vibrant and clear.

There are even bubbles still from the melting hail.


One Word Photo Challenge: Hail


One Word Photo Challenge: Hail

Thanks for visiting.

Copyright Raewyn Forbes

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Maroon or Burgundy

Burgundy Plums-5122

Good morning from a sunny Hastings day.

I know everyone is expecting me to show some maroon or burgundy flowers for Cee’s fun challenge over at Cee’s Photography but I do take photos of other objects.  Such as this jar of preserved plums at my parents place.  My mother would pick her damson plums and put them in jars with sugar and vodka and make what she calls her plonk.  That was her Christmas present to everyone each year.  Now she can’t remember what to do with the jars anymore so they are just sitting on a table.  I was fascinated with the colour and reflections of the jar.  No I haven’t edited this as a monochrome with a splash of colour – it is the way the photo turned out.

Maroon Rose-0981

But of course I do have some florals.

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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Burgundy or Maroon

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Burgundy or Maroon


No Escape


Thanks for visiting.

Copyright Raewyn Forbes

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