Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

People power: How NZ became nuclear free

Clocktower clock

Friday 29 November 2013 11:44am


Peace, Power & Politics: How New Zealand became nuclear free, a new book published by Otago University Press, is the first comprehensive, fully-illustrated account of how ordinary people created the movement that changed New Zealand’s foreign policy and identity as a nation.

In his foreword Nicky Hager describes the nuclear free victory as a ‘defining moment in the country’s history.’ In 1975 the peace movement was active but hardly mainstream. Yet within less than a decade the anti-nuclear groundswell was so profound and formidable that politicians were forced to take it into account.

‘During the hectic years of the 1980s the movement was incredibly diverse … at one point there were over 300 local activist groups across the country,’ says author Maire Leadbeater.


Peace, Power & Politics traces the movement’s dramatic development, brings to life the colourful mix of people involved and recounts the energy and creativity that went into the campaigning: from the hundreds of Peace Squadron boats confronting nuclear warships in our harbours to the groups of scientists, doctors, engineers, artists and ordinary citizens who took this struggle to their hearts, and to the streets.

‘Those who carry out brave actions such as climbing atop a nuclear powered submarine influence change but so do those who dare to speak against the mainstream. All these stories of courage and determination deserve to be told,’ says author Maire Leadbeater.

Maire Leadbeater could not be better qualified to bring these stories to light as a spokesperson for Auckland CND she played a leading role in the movement. She holds an Amnesty International New Zealand lifetime award for her work in human rights.

Peace, Power & Politics:
How New Zealand became nuclear free

By Maire Leadbeater
Release Date: November 2013
ISBN 978 1 877578-58-8, $55

For further information, contact

Maire Leadbeater

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

Electronic addresses (including email accounts, instant messaging services, or telephone accounts) published on this page are for the sole purpose of contact with the individuals concerned, in their capacity as officers, employees or students of the University of Otago, or their respective organisation. Publication of any such electronic address is not to be taken as consent to receive unsolicited commercial electronic messages by the address holder.