Lucy Lawless is not just fighting on screen as warrior 'Xena' or in the mini series 'Spartacus'

She has just led a massive protest organized by Greenpeace to stop mining on protected land in her native New Zealand.

Central Auckland was flooded with crowds as 40,000 protesters, the biggest demonstration in 40 years in New Zealand, marched.

Stopping strip mining is a passion for Lawless born Lucille Francis Ryan in 1968.

The sheer size of the demonstration, helped no doubt by Lawless taking part, took police by total surprise.

Central Auckland was at a standstill as the coalition of politicians, celebrities, environmentalists and the public demanded a halt to mining in protected areas.

Lawless said the the march brought back memories of huge demonstrations of 25 years ago.

"This reminds me of the late 80s, after the Rainbow Warrior bombing, back when there was class consciousness."

She said was particularly concerned about the effects of coal-mining: "To take carbon out of the ground and burn it, when we know about climate change, is immoral."