The 1981 New Zealand Springbok Tour was a significant event that changed New Zealand forever. The tour changed NZ because at the time South Africa was in an apartheid. When it was announced that the Springboks were coming to NZ people were angry Protests were rallied, people striked, demonstrations were set up, violence and chaos broke out as families, friends and co-workers turned against each other for choosing a side to support in the tour. The 1981 Springbok tour was significant to New Zealand as it was one of the biggest disturbances NZ had seen on its own land for many years, it divided New Zealand and changed our image During the 1981 New Zealand Springbok tour, South Africa was going through apartheid.
Apartheid “is a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race.” The policy was meant to be seen as separate but also equal at the same time’. However the coloured citizens of South Africa did not have any of the same rights and were not seen as equals to the white people who had the upper hand in life qualities.
This was completely unacceptable. Most countries around the world at the time were cutting sporting ties with South Africa to isolate them, hoping it would get them to try and break the apartheid rule. New Zealand had signed the Gleneagles agreement which opposed the sporting contact with South Africa among the Commonwealth countries. This means that the New Zealand government should not have been able to allow the Springboks to come to New Zealand as it was a violation of the Gleneagles agreement which clearly stated that they were to have no sporting contact with South Africa. While the Government and Rugby union were deciding what to do with the tour Prime Minister at the time, Robert Muldoon made his prediction. “Rugby union is going to go ahead with the tour, I’m convinced of that, uh the govt doesn’t want it to go ahead. With accordance to our policies, we are not going to stop them.”. the rugby union got their way in the end and the Springboks could come to New Zealand. When it was announced that the Springboks were coming to tour New Zealand, people were furious for many different reasons, they believed it would encourage South Africa to keep their white supremacy ways and ruin our image of staying away from contact with South Africa. But there are always two sides to an opinion; for and against. Naturally, both sides of the tour took to the streets demanding what they wanted, believing it was the right thing to do. The People that were against the tour had had enough of the racism that was being displayed by South Africa, and they’d had enough of the all-white Springbok rugby team. The people that protested for the tour were big-time rugby fans, all they wanted was to watch the rugby as they believed it was their right to be able to watch rugby. Families were split over the different opinions of the tour, friends stopped being friends and violence increased everywhere, in households, streets, workplaces and in communities. New Zealand was divided and would never be the same again. During the 1981 Springbok tour, there was a lot of violence, protesting and disruption. New Zealand was divided, and 2 main groups emerged: The people who were for the tour and the people who were against the tour. The people who protested against the tour believed that it was not helping the coloured people of South Africa in winning the war against apartheid. They believed that by allowing the Springboks into New Zealand they are just encouraging the South African government and its white supremacy ways. On 25 July, in Hamilton more than 500 police officers were present. The stadium was a full house and 400 people were standing outside the park protesting to stop the tour. Inside the stadium, several hundred tickets had been bought for the game by some of the protest leaders. Shortly after the game had started, several hundred protestors from a nearby street tore down the boundary fence and stormed onto the pitch and huddled in the middle in an attempt to get them to call off the game. Some of them were dragged away violently by the police and either thrown out of the park or arrested Rugby fans were furious and were desperate for revenge, they were yelling We want rugby!’. Police officers were more worried about controlling the angry fans than arresting the protestors. While the police were arresting some of the protestors, Pat McQuarrie had swiped a light aircraft and had the unclear intention of flying over the game, police were alerted of a possible threat of an aircraft possibly crashing onto the northern stadium seats. The protestors had won what they wanted, and the police called off the match. Rugby fans were angry and hungry for revenge and started attacking the police and protesters as they were guided to the exit. In the end, 50 protestors were arrested and they won what they wanted; the game was called off, but their action were a success as the game was abandoned The third test match in Auckland on the 12th of September was one of the most violent games. Protestors fought the police outside the park leaving people bloody and beaten. Property was vandalized. The scene outside was described as all hell broke loose’. Inside the grounds, flour and smoke bombs were being released and dropped from a Cessna aircraft onto the pitch hitting a few of the players and knocking them to the ground. The safety of the spectators and players were at risk, but the police were reluctant to call off the match. The police then chased the protestors outside of the park down the street and away from the stadium. Luckily no one died in or out of the stadium during the events of the final test match. The protestors outside the stadium were yelling “The whole world is watching”. By shouting this they believed that they would get through to the rugby union, the government and Prime Minister Robert Muldoon, who were the people that could do something and had the power to say to the South Africans No, Go home. The protestors believed that they could change their minds and make them believe that they were ruining New Zealand’s reputation and that the whole world is watching us and how we were going to react.The 1981 Springbok tour is an significant event to New Zealand as it was the closest violent disturbance NZ has ever had to be considered a civil war. The actions of the rugby fans, anti-tour protestors and police were violent and enough that it is closely considered a civil war. A different short-term effect of the tour was that families were torn apart. Friends would not speak to each other; co-workers could not work with each other and engagements were called off and families were broken. All because of family members having different and strong opinions of the tour. The tour changed the lives of everyone in New Zealand and the Springbok players. Over the eight weeks of the tour, more than 2,000 people were arrested for protesting against the tour.The 1981 New Zealand Springbok Tour was a significant event that changed New Zealand forever. The 56 day tour changed NZ because at the time South Africa was in an apartheid, when it was announced that the Springboks were coming to NZ people were angry Protests were rallied, people striked, demonstrations were organized, violence and chaos broke out as families, friends and co-workers turned against each other for choosing a side to support in the tour. The 1981 Springbok tour was significant to New Zealand as it was one of the biggest disturbances NZ had seen on its own land for many years, it divided New Zealand and changed our image.