History

Project Jonah volunteers in the 1970s campaign against whaling

In 1974 Project Jonah began the anti-whaling movement in New Zealand. Our rally call to ‘save the whales’ was embraced by ‘kiwis’ from all walks of life and in 1975 the New Zealand Government took its first steps against whaling by announcing an import ban on all whale products.

Fuelled by this victory, we then got stuck into a much wider campaign; to encourage the New Zealand Government to return to the International Whaling Commission (IWC), not to hunt whales, but to defend them. In 1976 New Zealand returned to the IWC – where today they remain one of the most vocal advocates for whale conservation in the world.

Project Jonah has, and always will be, a grassroots charity. By engaging ordinary people in our work we have achieved extraordinary things.
  • We helped develop the 1978 Marine Mammal Protection Act, the first of its kind in New Zealand.
  • We campaigned against the keeping of dolphins in captivity and stopped Napier Marineland from capturing and holding more marine mammals.
  • We designed the world’s first whale floatation rescue device. Our Inflatable Pontoons are used around the world and have helped rescue thousands of stranded whales.
  • We provided thousands of volunteers with the skills to rescue stranded dolphins and whales. We are the only national voluntary group in New Zealand that can effectively help marine mammals in distress. Through this network thousands of animals have been saved.

Together we will continue to take action to protect these animals and the oceans they call home.
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