Terrorism is defined as an act that has the intention of inducing terror in the civilian population, or forcing a government or organisation to do, or to abstain from an act. Terrorism acts are often associated with an ideological, political or religious cause.

Effects of terrorism

Acts of terrorism can result in death, injury, damage to property, infrastructure, and increasingly, computer systems. A large scale terrorism act, such as the introduction of a disease bearing organism could result in an animal pandemic and devastate the New Zealand economy.

Historical acts of terrorism in New Zealand

 The Rainbow warrior, after being bombed in Auckland Harbour 1985The most well-known act of terrorism in New Zealand was the bombing of Greenpeace’s flagship, the Rainbow Warrior, by the French Secret Service on 10 July 1985. The bombs sunk the Rainbow Warrior at her wharf mooring and killed crew member Fernando Pereira. 


Risk of terrorism in New Zealand

The risk of a terrorist attack in New Zealand is low, however since the September 2001 attacks in the USA the threat of terrorism internationally has been on the rise. Wellington, as the seat of government and where many central government agencies are based may be more at risk than other parts of New Zealand. The other area of increasing risk is computer networks, including the internet, which is vulnerable to cyber terrorism.

Find out more

Further information is available from the NZ Police website: New Zealand's response to threats of terrorism.