Monsters and Guardians


This short documentary chronicles the inception of the climate change movement in New Zealand. It was the year after the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. A tiny indigenous tribe on the remote East Cape saw a strange ship in their sacred waters. It was a seismic research vessel looking for deep sea oil. Fearing they had broken an ancient contract with their ancestors Te-Whanau-A-Apanui elders sent Taniwha and Kaitiaki (Monsters and Guardians) to confront the oil vessels. Then they took to the sea themselves. What happened next would inspire a whole generation of New Zealanders who’d grown up on a proud history of anti-nuclear protest. This film examines what it takes to be an environmental activist, the idea of living for the future and how often serendipitous collaborations can change history. PS: Shot by Greenpeace New-Zealand, giving an account of the actions it undertook during this conflict. This film is not being entered in the competition which is submitted to public vote.

Director's statement

We made this film partly to celebrate a decade’s resistance to offshore oil exploration in New Zealand and partly to give heart to the next wave of climate activists coming through. It was particularly important for us to document the indigenous peoples struggle which was the backbone of this epic movement and an important collaboration for Greenpeace. The fight against oil exploration is not over despite the NZ government moratorium on new exploration licenses. There is one foreign oil company left 0MV (the climate criminal) from Austria which is planning to drill in the untouched Great South Basin. La lucha continua.

Why we selected this film

A very touching film that introduces us to a nation of people who are proud of their culture, origins, territory, and who are willing to do anything to save it all. The committed fight these men and women are putting up is a model for all those who want to take action. A real lesson in activism…

Next steps

Act right away

Giving up on dirty energy is possible!
I find out more about sustainable forms of energy.

Take things further

Greenpeace’s other victories..

Join an action group

I join a Greenpeace local group somewhere near me (in France).

I join the WeGreen social network for those wishing to act in favour of the environment, to take part in actions happening near me and to meet people who are active in areas that I am interested in (in France).

I don't live in France: I find a Greenpeace office near me.

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