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Four Corners – French Connections (1985)


An extraordinary docudrama created by reporter Chris Masters and producer Bruce Belsham about the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbour and the death of a Portuguese cameraman who happened to be sleeping on board. The boat was scuttled, commando style, by a group of French secret service agents.

France’s force de frappe involved exploding nuclear devices at Mururoa Atoll in French Polynesia. Blowing up the Rainbow Warrior was the French Government’s attempt to prevent Greenpeace from sailing into Polynesia and disrupting the French tests.

Curator’s notes

Chris Masters deserves his reputation as one of Australia’s premier investigative journalists. This program, from the 1980s, is a fine example of the research and presentation skills that have always been his trademark.

This award-winning program is an example of Four Corners teamwork at its best. When Chris Masters and Bruce Belsham (a New Zealander) took off from Australia to follow this story, it took a leap of faith from their executive producer Peter Manning to allow them to follow their hunch. It paid off better than anyone might have expected because the trail was still fresh when they arrived on the ground in New Zealand to begin their enquires.