Wellingtonians and Dunedinites took up their buckets and spades and headed for the beach last Saturday in the fight against Japanese whaling. As part of the launch of the sand whale sculpture challenge, Green Party volunteers and members of the public built spectacular sand whales, the first two of what is expected to be many such sculptures to be seen round the NZ coastline. (See coverage of the Wellington event at http://www.stuff.co.nz/4326437a7693.html).
This summer the Japanese aim to slaughter more than 1000 whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in the name of scientific whaling. Included among them, for the first time since commercial whaling ended, will be 50 humpbacks and 50 rare fin whales. Despite official protests and diplomatic measures at venues such as the International Whaling Commission, little has changed. Scenes of slaughtered whales being hauled onto the Japanese ships leave many people feeling powerless and distressed. So this year we are hoping to send a message to the Japanese government - 'we want to see whales in the sea - not on the menu'.
We're encouraging Green Party members - and all New Zealanders - to build their own sand whale sculpture on a beach during the holiday season, take a picture of it with their friends and family, and email it to the Green Parliamentary Office at whales [at] greens [dot] org [dot] nz. At the end of summer we will compile all the pictures into a book and send it to the Japanese Fisheries Minister and to Japanese media