Greenpeace brings on board new 81-year-old boat

Greenpeace has a new activist on board - an 81-year-old Kauri-hulled boat, which had previously led a quiet life of piloting larger ships into ports and delivering the post around Marlborough.

The environmental activists put the callout saying they needed a bigger boat, and in a week they got one.

Around 1000 individuals donated nearly $100,000 altogether.

"This is an incredibly exciting mission, this one, and to have the public behind us so strongly saying, 'Yep we want you to go out there,' saying, 'We don't want this crazy, planet-wrecking oil drilling in our waters,'" Greenpeace's Steve Abel told Newshub.

Within weeks the 15-metre boat will be heading up to 150 nautical miles off the Wairarapa coast to protest the oil exploration ship, the Amazon Warrior.

"It's out of mind, out of sight. That's a huge part of what we are doing with this mission is to put a spotlight on it to let people know this is happening," Mr Abel said.

Greenpeace has taken a smaller boat to the same area, but the Margaret Mahy can only be in the area for a day.

The new boat can sleep seven and spend days at sea.

Before she earns her stripes as a Greenpeace vessel, some others are being painted on. Since the Rainbow Warrior was bombed in 1985, all New Zealand Greenpeace boats have had some kind of rainbow painted on them.

"It's quite moving to see the rainbow going on, that this is another Greenpeace boat in that tradition," Mr Abel said.

The boat is currently called Friendship, but Greenpeace is asking for ideas on what to re-name it. So far there have been more than 3000 suggestions.