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Source: Greenpeace New Zealand

Jeanette Fitzsimons

We are deeply saddened by the loss of Jeanette Fitzsimons. 

Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues. Her passing will be felt keenly by so many people in Aotearoa.

Jeanette was a tireless campaigner for people and planet, who understood better than most that those two things are intrinsically linked.

She was an inspiration to so many of us within the environmental movement and beyond.

Here at Greenpeace, lots of us benefited personally from knowing her as a friend, a mentor, a strategist and as someone who had a unique ability to be both fierce and gentle at the same time.

Jeanette’s unwavering conviction that the world could and should be a better place – and that together as a movement we could make it so – will live on as an invaluable legacy in the hearts of the many who gained so much from working with or near her.

We have so many stories of Jeanette’s exploits, but one that stands out today is Jeanette joining us in the Oil Free Seas Flotilla off the West Coast of the North Island for three weeks. She was co-skipper aboard the SV Vega, alongside Greenpeace NZ’s then Executive Director Bunny McDiarmid. 

Together they sailed into the exclusion zone of the monster Anadarko drillship as it began deep sea drilling and stayed there for a week,  challenging the controversial ‘Anadarko Amendment’, and daring authorities to arrest them. 

Jeanette Fitzsimons, Bunny Mcdiarmid, and Niamh O’flynn aboard the SV Vega inside the exclusion zone for Anadarko’s drill ship Noble Bob Douglas

They refused to arrest them.

Jeanette stood up and broke the rules. She knew that peaceful civil disobedience was a powerful way to make change and stand against to deep sea oil drilling.

She took action and took a stand for what was right time and time again. And we will always remember her for that.

Jeanette Fitzsimons, aboard SV Vega, responds to the crowd gathered at Princes Wharf to welcome the Oil Free Seas Flotilla back to Auckland.