Rainbow Warrior Memorial


Chris Booth



  • Sculpture


  • Stone
  • Steel
  • Bronze


  • W10,000 x H9000 x D1270mm

Chris Booth, 'Rainbow Warrior Memorial' (1990), Matauri Bay, Northland

Image: Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Public Art Heritage Aotearoa New Zealand, 2021


The work is installed on the Matauri hilltop overlooking the ocean site where Greenpeace vessel, The Rainbow Warrior, was sunk as a dive site.

An information board installed at the beginning of the walk up to the sculpture reads:

“The building of the memorial / The Rainbow Warrior memorial was created by sculptor Chris Booth between 1988 and 1990. It was commissioned by Ngāti Kura and New Zealand China Clays. The sculpture was dedicated by the Governor General, Sir Paul Reeves, assisted by the Reverend Nuku Stewart. The memorial was designed to represent a black rainbow of mourning. All materials for the sculpture were sourced locally. Funding also came from some generous local support and from some of the reparation money the French Government was ordered to pay as a penalty for carrying out the bombing.”

Two plaques installed at the site of the work read:

“I HAPAITIA TE KAUPAPA, E TE WHANAU O NGATI KURA, OTI RA NGA TE IWI WHANUI TONU” and “A tribute to the Rainbow Warrior and her crew in their endeavours for peace, conservation and a nuclear free planet. Dedicated by the Governor General His Excellency The Most Revd. Sir Paul Reeves. / 15th July, 1990.”

“Chris was featured in the 1991 documentary film When A Warrior Dies which focused on his construction of a very large and imposing sculpture at Matauri Bay overlooking the Cavalli Islands for the Ngati Kura people of the district. The sculpture stands before the resting place of the MV Rainbow Warrior which was bombed and sunk by French Government DGSE secret agents in Auckland on 10 July 1985. The Rainbow Warrior propeller is in the centre of the sculpture, surrounded by an arch of large basalt boulders recovered from a local beach.”

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