The bombing and sinking of the Rainbow Warrior was a shame for the French Government and a curse to the background of great relationships involving the countries of New Zealand (NZ) and France. In 1985 NZ then was one of the international leaders of the anti-nuclear movement at the same time when France was still testing nuclear weapons in the pacific, NZ's backyard. This has been considered at the time to be a cause of embarrassment for the French . Just before midnight on the evening of 10 July 1985, two explosions blew holes in the hull of Greenpeace’s flagship Rainbow Warrior, that had been tied up at Marsden Wharf in Auckland in NZ. This was just before the Rainbow Warrior was on the way to a demonstration against a planned French atomic test at Moruroa in the Pacific. A Portuguese national and team member, Fernando Pereira, was murdered by the explosions and the boat sunk in the Auckland harbour. All the other crew on board ended up safely rescued. The Rainbow Warrior had been involved with several protest measures about French atomic testing in the Pacific ocean from its base in Auckland, NZ.
On 24th of July two French secret service agents, Dominique Prieur and Alain Mafart, were arrested in New Zealand and were charged with homicide. They subsequently pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were sentenced to 10 years’ in prison, much to the considerable embarrassment from the French government. There was an unknown number of other French agents posing as travelers associated that ended up capable of escape New Zealand prior to being caught. That the bombing was committed on NZ land by a country that was meant to be friendly led to a feeling of substantial outrage along with a serious decline in relationships between New Zealand and the French. France primarily dismissed any participation with the attack, but the fact was later on exposed by the Le Monde publication, claiming that the bombing had been authorized by the French President. The French Prime Minister later on confessed France’s participation. Many political leaders, including then NZ Prime Minister David Lange, called the bombing being an act of terrorism or even government sanctioned terrorism. This contributed to trade problems for New Zealand goods getting sold to the European Union with interference in that from France officials. A year following the bombing the United Nations Secretary Javier Perez de Cuellar proclaimed a binding decision by which that New Zealand will receive an apology and also payment of $13 million out of the French govt. France had also been directed never to restrict New Zealand’s commercial discussions. The agents from France Dominique Prieur and Alain Mafart could serve their manslaughter sentences fully on Hao Atoll in the French Polynesia. However, both prisoners were released early with Alain Marfart being returned to France as a result of an alleged disease in 1987 and Dominique Prieur was returned in May 1988 because she ended up being pregnant. Both were respected and promoted upon their return back to France. This brought on repugnance in NZ. France also paid $8 million to Greenpeace in damages which they used to pay for an additional ship. France in addition paid compensation to the Pereira family.