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Moruroa '73 and the Fri Peace Odyssey

Moruroa '73 and the Fri Peace Odyssey

Sorry this event has been and gone


  • Fri 25 Sep ’15, 7:00pm – 10:00pm


Artworks Community Theatre, 2 Korora Rd, Oneroa, Waiheke Island


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • General: $25.00

Come along and hear a gripping tale of real-life courage and adventure, related first-hand from someone who was there: Waiheke resident Bernard Rhodes. How a small boat filled with peace protesters managed to take on and temporarily halt the French nuclear testing programme, and bring the world's attention to what was happening in the South Pacific.

Radioactive isotopes were being detected in New Zealand cow's milk and sheep's thyroids, and the French government had declared a 120-mile radius Forbidden Zone around Moruroa while they tested their bombs. Islanders nearby were being herded into a fallout shelter. The nuclear arms race had become a global madness.

Outrage was growing, and it led to the 1973 Peace Flotilla, a multiple adventure of epic proportions on the part of several yachts and a frigate.

Bernard sailed as skipper of the ferro-cement ketch 'Spirit of Peace'. After 75 days at sea she called in to Rarotonga for supplies, homeward bound, but had proved so effective she was turned round and sent back with a new crew. Bernard then joined the former Baltic trader 'Fri', just released from captivity by the French, leaking badly and with the engine out of action due to a fire.

As a French warship escorted the sea-weary 'Fri' into harbour near Tahiti for urgent repairs after 150 days of protest, the gendarmes asked, 'Why pick on us? What about the Americans, the British, Russia and China?'

This sowed the seeds of the Fri Peace Odyssey, a 10,000 mile voyage through the Pacific Islands under sail carrying thousands of messages of peace from ordinary citizens. For this voyage, supported by the newly formed Greenpeace New Zealand, Bernard was appointed skipper. Informing and networking between communities, publicising untold stories, 'Fri' survived a typhoon to later join the anti-nuclear movement in Japan.

Bernard shows his colour slides while spinning a salty yarn of sailing and seamanship in adventures that helped change the world.

Another Waiheke Working Sail fundraiser, towards restoring the "Kate."

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