Peace symbol formed in Auckland to celebrate 30 years of being nuclear-free
Hundreds of people have come together in Auckland to form a peace sign, celebrating New Zealand being nuclear-free.
A public event was organised in the Auckland Domain on Sunday to mark the the 30th anniversary of the passing of the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act, which made New Zealand nuclear-free.
The United States in return downgraded New Zealand's status from ally to friends.
Sunday's event, put on by the Peace Foundation, was billed as a chance for people to take a stand for peace and perhaps the first chance for younger people to acknowledge the country's nuclear-free status.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, as one of 7000 'Mayors for Peace' around the world who are calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons, spoke at the event.
Goff said the 30th anniversary was a time to reflect on the horror of war and to learn lessons from the past. "New Zealand is proudly nuclear-free and we must continue to strive for a peaceful world free of nuclear arms."
He unveiled a peace plaque beside a pohutakawa tree, partly to support the United Nations nuclear weapon ban treaty negotiations underway in New York.
Though support for a ban on nuclear weapons is growing, the ban treaty has no support from the nine known nuclear states which are the US, China, France, Britain, Russia, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea.
Greenpeace NZ executive director Russel Norman said climate change and nuclear weapons were two undeniable existential threats to human survival. "On the 30th anniversary of New Zealand's Nuclear Free Zone status, it's heartening to see our government taking a strong stand on nuclear disarmament.
"We should always remember that our nuclear-free status was created by the people of New Zealand and in the process, they set an example that the rest of the world can follow," Norman said.