Skip to content

You Can't Sink A Rainbow badge

Shared by
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

This badge effectively combines a rainbow as a symbol of the anti-nuclear movement with the brutal bombing of the Rainbow Warrior – a Greenpeace protest ship. The Rainbow Warrior was moored in Auckland in 1985 when two bombs ripped through it. The ship’s photographer died retrieving his camera. Unhappy France Two French government agents were caught and imprisoned for manslaughter. The bombing was intended to stop the Rainbow Warrior protesting against French nuclear testing at Moruroa atoll. The attack galvanised the anti-nuclear movement in New Zealand, and NewZealand–French relations soured. France wanted its agents back and threatened to block New Zealand’s trade access to European markets if this didn’t happen. With important export markets at stake, politics won out over principles. The New Zealand government agreed to the agents being transferred to Hao atoll, where they served reduced sentences before returning to France as heroes. Wearing protest The visual culture of anti-nuclear protest often took form in a range of popular media, including banners, T-shirts, and badges. Badges were accessible, mass-produced objects, cheap to make and purchase, easily disseminated, and effective in conveying political messages. Although they are among the smallest of protest objects, badges can be powerful and effective in delivering good design and concise messaging. For example, ‘You can’t sink a rainbow’ effectively combines a rainbow as a symbol of the anti-nuclear movement and the dove of peace with the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, along with the impossible idea of actually sinking a rainbow.

Ngā whakamārama -

  • Title

    You Can't Sink A Rainbow badge

  • Maker


  • Date made

    circa 1985

  • Subject

    Doves, Nuclear weapons testing, metal, paper, plastic, ink, badges, printing, New Zealand

  • Rights

    All Rights Reserved

  • View source record for this item

Kei hea tēnei taonga? -
Where is this item held?

  • Additional information including high resolution images may be available.

  • Location

    Cable Street, Wellington

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Whare taonga | Organisation

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Ngā here ki runga i ngā whakaahua o tēnei taonga? -
What can you do with images of this item?

  • You must check with Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa to confirm terms of use and any attribution requirements, but this is our understanding:

  • Use for private study, research, criticism, review, or education

    NZ Copyright law allows for the use of copyrighted works in specific circumstances. Consider what you can do under copyright law.

  • No sharing

    You can't share this image without futher permission.

  • No modifying

    You can't modify, remix or add to this image without further permission.

  • No commercial use

    You can't use this image to make money.

  • Text adapted with permission from Te Papa and Digital NZ

Tāpirihia he kōrero anō -
Improve this record

  • Can you help us? Share names, details and stories to help enrich the collection.

    Contact contributor