1Six Greenpeace activists, including actress Lucy Lawless, who face burglary charges after occupying an oil exploration ship for four days at Port Taranaki have had their court date shifted.

The protesters were arrested and charged with burglary after two police officers scaled the 53-metre high drilling tower aboard the Shell-contracted Noble Discoverer on Monday morning.

The group, who were trying to stop the ship from exploring oil wells in the Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska, had been up the derrick for 77 hours.

Originally due to appear in the New Plymouth District Court on Thursday, the activists will now appear on March 20.

The other activists facing charges are: Mike Buchanan, Shayne Comino and Naoni Hammer all from Christchurch, Shai Nades from Wellington and Vivienne Hadlow from Auckland.

Zac Penman is also due to appear on charges of being party to burglary.

Greenpeace issued a statement saying no property was taken or damaged during the occupation which began last Friday morning.

The Noble Discoverer was scheduled to leave the port on Sunday.

Greenpeace is calling on Shell to cancel its plans to open up the Arctic to oil drilling.

Lawless became an international celebrity for her role as Xena in the TV action series Xena: Warrior Princess which first screened in 1995.

In 1997 People Weekly magazine named Lawless as one of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World".

AAP


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