Wellington Scoop

Greenpeace climbers hang four climate-change banners on CBD’s tallest building

Photos from Greenpeace

Two Greenpeace activists today climbed up the outside of the tallest building in Wellington, reaching the offices of an oil exploration company on the 20th floor. They unfurled climate change banners opposing oil exploration, with the fourth banner being placed outside the windows of the company’s offices.


Abigail Smith and Nick Hanafin began climbing the Majestic Centre at dawn, and succeeding in reaching the 20th floor headquarters of Austrian oil giant OMV after 14 hours.


Their first banner stated ‘It’s a climate emergency’. The others said: ‘know your enemy’, ‘end oil’, and ‘evict OMV’.

Climbers arrested

News from Greenpeace
The Greenpeace climbers reached OMV’s offices on the 20th floor and announced a public protest to evict the Austrian oil giant. They have now written on the windows of the oil giant’s offices inviting New Zealanders to join a peaceful public event to hand in an eviction notice signed by tens of thousands of people. The event will take place on August 14, with more details to follow on a Facebook event page.

Greenpeace climate campaigner, Amanda Larsson, says almost 30,000 people have already signed the notice to evict OMV. “We’re calling on New Zealanders to bring along their friends and family to help us hand in an eviction notice to OMV at their Majestic Centre headquarters,” she says. “Climate change is the issue of our time and we’re watching a global movement grow in strength and size every day. People everywhere are taking action, including the millions of students around the world going on strike from school.

“Oil companies like OMV have known for 30 years that burning fossil fuels is driving climate change. Instead of acting, the industry has poured billions of dollars into climate change denial and lobbying while continuing to push ever deeper into remote ends of the Earth in search of new oil and gas. Our message to OMV is clear: expect resistance – and see you again in August.”

Earlier news from Greenpeace
Greenpeace climbers are scaling the outside of the Majestic Centre, the tallest building in Wellington, to reach the headquarters of Austrian oil giant, OMV.

The two activists, Abigail Smith and Nick Hanafin, began the unusual ascent at dawn this morning, and the climb is expected to take all day. If they can make it to OMV’s offices on the 20th floor, they will deliver a message. They will be deploying banners along the way.


Following the departure of oil majors Chevron and Equinor (formerly Statoil) this month, OMV is the last remaining international oil giant operating in New Zealand. A self-propelled drill rig, which will be used by OMV to drill exploratory wells off the Taranaki Coast and in the Great South Basin, has just arrived in the country.

Greenpeace New Zealand climate campaigner Amanda Larsson says the arrival of the rig comes as governments and councils all over the world are declaring a climate emergency.

“We’ve seen governments including those of the UK, Wales and Scotland declare national climate emergencies, and councils all over New Zealand including Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch, and Dunedin doing the same,” she says.

“We’re living through a climate emergency. If we don’t halve global carbon emissions in just a decade, we’ll be locked into extreme weather and heating that will threaten all life on Earth, including our own”.

Last April, in response to the climate crisis, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration permits, making New Zealand one of the first countries in the world to do so.

However, this did not extend to exploration permits for new oil and gas that were issued before the ban, meaning companies like OMV could expand into previously untouched stretches of ocean like the Great South Basin to drill for decades to come.

OMV is on the list of 100 companies that have caused more than 70% of the world’s climate emissions, and is currently drilling in the Arctic.

Larsson says the oil giant can expect widespread resistance in New Zealand.

“Climate change is the issue of our time and we’re watching a global movement grow in strength and size every day. People everywhere are taking action, including the millions of students around the world going on strike from school,” she says.

“By stopping OMV’s climate destroying activities in the far flung frontier of New Zealand, we’ll send a global signal that in the face of humanity’s biggest challenge ever, people rather than profit will prevail.”


  1. Neil Douglas, 24. July 2019, 10:34

    Greenpeace did nothing to save Wellington’s 100% electric trolley buses – I even approached Russell Norman but he never returned calls.

  2. Jane C, 24. July 2019, 11:19

    Some have said Greenpeace are “environmental terrorists.”

  3. Chris Horne, 24. July 2019, 21:36

    Congratulation Greenpeace climbers Abigail Smith and Nick Hanafin. Perfect motive, precise planning and brilliant execution. If the people of Planet Earth are determined to halt the progress of the looming global environmental catastrophe, then such demonstrations against major polluters are essential. There is no PLANET B, so let’s not wreck this one, home to billions of people, plants and animals.

    Overseas Major Vandals, a.k.a. OMVs, please leave our land and surrounding seas forthwith, and do not seek to return.

  4. Mequil, 24. July 2019, 22:45

    Good to see they were wearing helmets (made out of petroleum products)….

  5. glenn, 25. July 2019, 6:44

    They personally should be charged and jailed. Greenpeace (as a business) should also be charged under Worksafe health and safety practises, and made to pay the cost of the emergency services/police that spent valuable time on them.

  6. Dave B, 25. July 2019, 13:31

    I don’t think Greenpeace should be charged for provision of emergency-services unless they actually requested it and a purchase-order from them can be produced. There was no emergency, other than the officially-recognized-but-unofficially-ignored Climate Emergency that they were seeking to highlight.