Extinction Rebellion protesters evacuated off 100m-high oil rig

Two protestors who attached themselves to a moving oil rig on Tuesday have been evacuated.

They say despite needing to be airlifted off the rig they still did what they wanted to do.

Veteran climate activists Nick Hanafin and Siana Fitzjohn's protest came to a freezing end after more than twelve hours clinging to the side of a 100-metre high oil rig.

The Extinction Rebellion duo were protesting against exploration company OMV.

"By intercepting them and not allowing them to continue out of sight, out of mind, I think we did a really good job," Fitzjohn told Newshub. 

The COSL Prospector was travelling up to the Taranaki Basin. The protestors intercepted it on Tuesday morning as it passed through Marlborough Sounds.

They lasted on the side of the vessel until after midnight - but were forced to abandon their positions.

"We pushed into the night, but we weren't really able to safely continue to stay on the side," said Hanafin.

Instead they spent the night on board before being airlifted back to land on Wednesday afternoon.

The Petroleum Exploration and Production Association (PEPANZ) says while they're glad everyone's safe, the protest action was dumb and dangerous.

"We think that these are a group of extremists that have no wider support in the community. We think there are far better ways of actually getting their message across," said CEO John Carnegie.

OMV says it'll be issuing a trespass notice against the duo and expects authorities to take further action.