- Date published:
10:07 am, December 16th, 2020 - 25 comments
Categories: International, making shit up, Media, spin, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: crap beer, nuclear free movement
Bugger all really. One is, and this is quite a rare thing nowadays in Aotearoa, a bad beer. The other is the cumulative effort of activists and Governments who for decades tried to stop France from engaging in that most barbaric of activities, initially atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons but then after the outcry became too fierce the under water testing of nuclear weapons.
Protests occurred from the 1960s and involved Pacific Nations, New Zealand and Australia, Greenpeace and many other organisations and communities. In 1973 our Government sent two frigates with a Cabinet Minister on board into the area where there was an atmospheric test conducted. New Zealand also took France to the International Court of Justice successfully seeking a declaration that the atmospheric tests were illegal. France responded by snubbing its nose at the decision but it did move the testing underground.
As for organisational opposition to the tests just think of the Rainbow Warrior, when French operatives blew up a Greenpeace ship berthed at Auckland and killed photographer Fernando Pereira.
New Zealand apprehended and jailed two of the French agents involved in the bombing. France responded by threatening trade sanctions on New Zealand. An eventually UN mediated settlement saw France apologise and pay token damages. In a final insult to New Zealand France, which had promised to hold the convicted agents on Hao Atoll in the Pacific, returned them to mainland France.
The last two tests on Mururoa were conducted in 1995, a year before the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty came into force.
As you can sense the protest movement was a rich tapestry of coordinated and supporting action between Governments, NGOs especially Greenpeace and Pacific people.
So how did Stenilanger handle a depiction of the deep and controversial history? With as clear a case of cultural and historical misappropriation as you can imagine.
Here is the film.
Note the use of predominately good old palangis to claim the credit. And the dumbing down of decades of protest activities into a short piece of film designed to sell beer.
I am not the only one upset about this.
Who doesn’t love a beautifully made commercial that makes us feel good about New Zealand and our place in the world? The latest in this particular genre is an emotional 90-second Steinlager ad directed by Lee Tamahori and being rolled out to cinemas, television and social media ahead of the America’s Cup.
The ad tells the story of New Zealand activists who in 1995 sailed to Moruroa Atoll to protest French nuclear testing in the Pacific. They went “their own way”, the ad tells us – drawing a parallel between the sailors on the flotilla and New Zealand’s broader yachting culture – and “there have been no nuclear tests in the Pacific since”. Steinlager’s depiction of New Zealand’s small yachts facing off against military warships is misleading, to say the least. Not only is it factually incorrect (French testing did not stop immediately after the flotilla, but continued until 1996), it distorts the truth about the campaign against nuclear testing in the Pacific. Among those outraged are Peace Movement Aotearoa, which has filed a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority over the ad’s misrepresentation of history.
In the Steinlager version of the story, a few brave Kiwi blokes (and a token woman) set out on a daring adventure in 1995 and brought French nuclear testing to an end. That is a fiction that erases over 50 years of Indigenous activism throughout the Pacific, not to mention decades of activism by Māori, and their Pākehā allies, in Aotearoa itself. Pointing out the problems with the Steinlager ad in no way discredits the contributions New Zealanders made to stopping nuclear testing in the Pacific. But the real story of the anti-nuclear movement in the Pacific is one of tireless campaigning by Pasifika and Māori, and vital cross-cultural collaborations and alliances that continue to this day. All of this the ad ignores.
They were more polite than me. If I was to speak to Steinlager’s corporate persona I would tell them to practice safe sex and engage in self fornication.