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Film: Gisborne game, 1981 Springbok tour

Video file

Protest at Gisborne

Game 1, Gisborne, 22 July 1981

The first game, against Poverty Bay on 22 July, saw tour supporters and anti-tour protestors confront each other, face to face, for the first time. Murray Ball, the cartoonist of Footrot Flats fame, was the son of an All Black and had been an All Black trialist himself. Speaking to TV One's Close up in 2006, his recollections of the first game in Gisborne revealed a situation thousands of New Zealand families would experience. His family was split over the tour, which he chose to oppose. Joining protestors at the first game, he recalled being 'scared as hell' when coming face to face with pro-tour supporters. He felt it was strange for New Zealanders to feel so aggressive towards other New Zealanders. Ball wrote to the New Zealand Rugby Football Union informing them of his decision to remove his iconic character, Dog, as All Black mascot.


Extract from 1981 tour special on Close up, 4 July 2006

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Film: Gisborne game, 1981 Springbok tour, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated