Events In History
12 September 1981'Flour-bomb test' ends Springbok tour
The third and deciding rugby test at Eden Park, Auckland, is best remembered for the flares and flour bombs dropped onto the pitch. Outside the ground, violence erupted on an unprecedented scale. Read more...
29 July 1981Police baton anti-tour protesters near Parliament
Up to 2000 anti-Springbok tour protesters were confronted by police who used batons to stop them marching up Molesworth St to the home of South Africa's Consul to New Zealand. Read more...
25 July 1981Anti-Springbok protesters block Hamilton match
Anti-tour demonstrators invaded Hamilton’s Rugby Park, forcing the abandonment of the Springboks–Waikato match. Read more...
10 April 1973Labour government cancels Springbok rugby tour
Following police warnings of civil strife, Prime Minister Norman Kirk informed the New Zealand Rugby Football Union that the government saw ‘no alternative’ to a 'postponement' of the planned tour by the South African Springboks. Read more...
7 September 1921Springboks play New Zealand Maoris for first time
A South African journalist was outraged when white spectators supported the New Zealand Maoris rugby team against the touring Springboks at Napier. Read more...
For 56 days in July, August and September 1981, New Zealanders were divided against each other in the largest civil disturbance seen since the 1951 waterfront dispute. The cause of this was the visit of the South African rugby team – the Springboks.
Page 2 – All Blacks versus Springboks
Since rugby went professional in 1995 countries like Australia, England and France have challenged New Zealand and South Africa's claims to be the two powerhouses of world
Page 3 – Politics and sport
South Africa's apartheid policies and attitudes created obvious problems for New Zealand rugby, given the prominence of Māori in the sport.
Page 4 – Stopping the 1973 tour
Keeping sport and politics separate was becoming increasingly difficult. In July 1969 HART (Halt All Racist Tours) was founded by University of Auckland students with the
Page 5 – Gleneagles Agreement
The All Blacks accepted an invitation to tour South Africa in 1976, when world attention was firmly fixed on the republic because of the Soweto riots.
Page 6 – Battle lines are drawn
The tour supporters were determined that the first Springbok visit to New Zealand since 1965 would not be spoiled. The anti-tour movement was equally determined to show its
Page 7 – Tour diary
Select itinerary of the 1981 tour by the Springbok rugby team.
Page 8 – Impact
In Hamilton the protestors occupying the pitch had chanted 'The whole world is watching'. The same applied to New Zealand as a nation. Some believed the tour was an opportunity
Page 9 – Further information
Find out more about the 1981 Springbok Tour.
Kirk, Norman Eric
In 1972 Norman Kirk broke National’s 12-year-long grip on the Treasury benches and became Labour’s first New Zealand-born PM.Read more...
Muldoon, Robert David
Rob Muldoon was one of our most polarising PMs, the voice of ‘the ordinary bloke’ to supporters and a dictatorial bully to critics.Read more...
- south africa
- roadside stories
- maori sport
- norman kirk
- robert muldoon
- auckland city
- all blacks
- eden park
- whanganui city
- king country
- hawkes bay rugby
- prime ministers
- labour party
- nuclear free
- waitangi tribunal
- waitangi day
- national identity
- radio broadcasts
- empire day
- bernard freyberg
- italian campaign
- national party
- workers rights
- music month
- wellington city
- victoria university
- parliament buildings
- athletic park
- palmerston north
- howard morrison
- poverty bay rugby
- gleneagles agreement
- cold war
- united nations
- vietnam war
- george nepia
- don mcglashan