80yo great-grandmother to lead Extinction Rebellion protests in Wellington

Thousands of climate change activists in Wellington are set to kick off a global wave of civil disobedience on Monday as a week of Extinction Rebellion protests gets underway.

As part of the buildup, a group has been given a crash course in non-violent protesting - by a great-grandmother.

The busy streets of central Wellington will be a far cry from a campground driveway in Paekakariki - but for these Extinction Rebellion members, the practice is invaluable.

Eighty-year-old Mary Rose has come down from Tauranga to teach the group what she's learned and lead the blockade.

"We've lived through it, and been part of creating the problem, and those of us that can see that need to put our energy into supporting the young people who are going to live through it," she says.

The group are learning things such as how to form a human barrier in traffic, how to communicate in a busy march and how to stand their ground in front of police.

"We don't know how it will play out tomorrow, but we want to be ready and in tune with each other to face whatever happens," Rose says.

At 7am on Monday, Wellington will be the first of more than 60 cities around the world to be taken over by Extinction Rebellion demonstrations.

This group is just a small part of the thousands expected to turn up from all over the country.

"I just wanted to be part of this global movement that's saying 'let's take action, let's make a difference'," Rose says.

Monday will be the first major non-violent direct action Melanie Vautier's been involved in - inspired by all she was reading in her environmental studies degree.

"That would be definitely a pretty new and different experience in my life!" she says.

"There's a lot of kind of nervous people here getting outside of their comfort zone, and to be able to kind of tap into some of that experience has been awesome."

While the group acknowledges the disruption they're set to cause, they say the disruption to the planet will be worse if no action is taken.