Today marks 30 years since New Zealand became nuclear free thanks to 'courageous grassroots work'

Today marks 30 years since New Zealand became nuclear free.

The Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament and Arms Control Act came after years of grassroots campaigning.

The campaigning was in response to years of French nuclear testing in the Pacific Ocean triggered a united and passionate response from New Zealanders.

It is 30 years since New Zealand became nuclear free, the first country to do so. Source: 1 NEWS

Opposition to the testing led to the Labour Government of 1987 declaring New Zealand nuclear free.

Today, the anniversary of the landmark legislation, those who dedicated decades to the cause will gather at Christchurch's Peace Bell in the first of a number of events marking the 30 years since the law change.

For nuclear free campaigner Kate Dewes the watershed followed years of lobbying.

"The night it (legislation) went through there was euphoria really all around the country in terms of the movement," Ms Dewes says.

The anti-nuclear movement grew from single homes to a nationwide phenomenon.

"We were declaring our homes, offices, bicycles, schools, farms, marae nuclear free .. with a great big map filling in where they were," she says.

For former Royal Navy Commander Robert Green the day was also meaningful.

He joined the peace movement after years of operating nuclear strike aircraft.

"There's a lot of courageous grassroots work, hard long slog out here in New Zealand," says Mr Green.

"You don't get it just by asking Government to change minds."