© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

Protestors join hands against oil drilling

Brooke Hunter

Protesters gathered in New Brighton last weekend to take part in in the international climate change protest, Hands Across the Sand.

The annual climate change protest focuses on the issue of offshore and onshore fossil extraction, with deep sea oil drilling being one of the main reasons for the protest.

This is the first time that Hands Across the Sand has been held since the Government announced the banning of future offshore drilling permits.

However, this ban does not extend to current permits, meaning that the 22 existing permits are still valid, and oil companies able to continue extracting oil out of the ocean floor surround New Zealand.

Graham Townsend, a member of climate change organisation 350 Christchurch, said the ban was a small step, but showed leadership. It was "a direct consequence of pressure from groups like ours", he said.

Hands Across the Sand is part of a wider global movement, protesting the extraction of fossil fuels and the lack of action taken towards climate change internationally.

The protest was organised and run by Oil Free Otautahi, for the eighth year running, and in partnership with 350 Christchurch.

Beach Protest 2
Protesters at New Brighton beach. Brooke Hunter

The protest opened with a performance by the Natural Magic Pirates Band, followed by speeches by members of Oil Free Otautahi.


All protesters then gathered on the beach shore to engage in a peaceful protest. They stood together holding hands to show solidarity in the fight against climate change.


A whale cut-out, signed by protesters who attended. was presented to Christchurch East MP Poto Williams.


This was done as a way of expressing gratitude by the protesters towards the Government but also wanted to encourage further decisions to be made by them to combat the issue.


Oil Free Otautahi spokesperson Bridget White said change needed to come not just from the Government, but "from us".


She urged people to start small with a meat-free meal a week or biking instead of driving to work.


While the Labour Government has made the first step towards a more sustainable future, by banning future offshore oil drilling permits, this does not extend to the onshore extraction of fossil fuels or current permits.