30 years ago today … 31 July 1981.
Every Friday over the winter, the Canterbury branch of the Workers’ Educational Association held a forum on a topic of national or local interest. The topic was introduced by an informed speaker and then opened up for general discussion.
30 years ago, New Zealand was a nation of protest.
The Springbok – the South African rugby team – were coming to tour New Zealand. Many Kiwis did not want the All Blacks to play rugby against a regime that practiced apartheid. People in their droves turned out to protest.
One of the rallies took place on Friday 3 July 1981, in Cathedral Square, Christchurch. Its intention was to try to stop the tour from going ahead. It was followed by a mass sit-in in Latimer Square where a “tent-city” was erected.
… it’s the things we remember, the times that shape us. And one of my favourite things in our digital collection is only 29 years old – our 1981 Springbok Tour posters.
As we head towards the Rugby World Cup next year, it’s a good time to think again about ‘The Tour’. Rugby came to mean so much more than kicking a ball about. Back in 1981, New Zealand was a nation divided. Should politics and sports mix? Can we play rugby against a nation that practices apartheid? Civil disturbances shook the country as the South African rugby team toured.
I was a school kid in Gore, and can remember getting into feisty arguments with pro-Tour kids and my parents going to protests.