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Vietnam War protesters greet US Vice-President

15 January 1970

Vietnam War protest poster
Vietnam War protest poster (Alexander Turnbull Library, MS-Papers-2511-5/1/25-9)

United States Vice-President Spiro Agnew’s three-day visit to New Zealand sparked some of the most violent anti-Vietnam War demonstrations seen in this country. Many protesters and some members of the media accused the police of excessive force against demonstrators.

New Zealand was Agnew’s last stop on a 25-day, 60,000-km, 11-nation goodwill tour of Pacific and Asian countries. His wife, Judy, Apollo 10 astronaut Eugene Cernan, 10 journalists, aides and Secret Service agents accompanied him.

The presence of the man who was ‘a heartbeat away from the presidency’ attracted the attention of the anti-war movement, which felt Keith Holyoake’s government had bowed to the US over participation in the war.

Over 500 protesters greeted Agnew in Auckland. The following evening protests continued outside a state dinner. Up to 700 protesters assembled outside his hotel and shouted anti-war slogans at guests as they arrived. There were 200 police on hand and scuffles broke out. Around 11.45 p.m. the police moved against the demonstrators, making a further 11 arrests.

The protests attracted widespread media attention both here and in the United States. 

How to cite this page

Vietnam War protesters greet US Vice-President, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated