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History of Springbok Tour Protests

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Springbok tour essay. The 1981 springbok tour protests had a huge social and political impact on New Zealand society. The decision to allow the springbok tour to proceed was one of the most controversial decisions ever taken by New Zealand government. New Zealand rugby relationships with South Africa began in 1921. In the 1921 tour when a Maori player was included in the New Zealand team, South Africa opposed to this. Continuing tours between South Africa and New Zealand excluded any Maori players from playing.

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In the 1960 tour when no Maori no tour were allowed to play against south Africa the Maori MP emuera triakakena order the tour should be cancelled. A petition with 156, 000 signatures on it were presented to parliament demanding the tour to be stopped if Maoris were excluded from playing. Most of these signatures were from white new Zealanders. In the 1920 tour South Africa permitted Maori and islanders to participate in the tour with the term honorary whites on their passport.

Because of this action thirty countries boycott the 1926 Montreal Olympic Games and refused to compete with New Zealand.

In 1978 the New Zealand government agreed to sign the glen eagle’s agreement, which stated that New Zealand had to discourage contact and competition between sporting organisations from South Africa. The apartheid system in South Africa at the time of the springbok tour had laws that separated all blacks and whites in South Africa. Blacks and whites had to go to different places as whites for example they had separate toilets, separate benches, separate stairways, they lived in different areas and blacks and whites could not marry.

It was politically important for the national government to allow the tour to go ahead. The national party would benefit from letting the 1981 tour go ahead because most of their supporters were rural rugby fans. Robert Muldoon believed that cancelling the tour would be an infringement on new Zealanders rights. Muldoon thought that South Africa coming to New Zealand would be a good influence for them to see how a multi cultured country lives together. He stated that it would be “bridge building” between New Zealand and South Africa. There were a number of social features in the 1981 springbok tour.

One social feature was the change in police tactics during the tour. Police tactics before the tour did not involve the blue and red squads. The new police squads that were introduced had to learn defence strategies to confront the new aggressive protests that were taking place. After the Hamilton game in 1981, where the protests got more organised and more aggressive the police had no choice but to take on a tougher stance. Riot squads were formed to counter the front lines of the protests. Blockades were set up around the areas outside games to prevent protesters from getting on the fields.

Another new tactic that took place was sending undercover agents into the protest meetings to gain a heads up on what was being planned. Another social feature of the tour was the way in which protests became incredibly organised as the tour progressed. This would bring out many social issues. New protest groups such as HART (halt all racist tours) hart were committed to being a non-violent group. John minto the national organiser for hart believed “the most important impact of the tour in new Zealand was to stimulate the whole debate about racism and the place of Maori in our community.

The tour brought together all types of people from New Zealand; the protesters were not the usual hippy type. The protesters were men, women, young and old, educated and uneducated, Maori and pakeha. The main aim for the protests were to have the games stopped, they were successful in the Hamilton game. Because of there more aggressive protests, the protestors began wearing protective gear such as shields and padding. We see New Zealand changing during the tour; many saw the protests as New Zealand “losing its innocence” The 1981 springbok tour protests had a number of effects on New Zealand society.

A split in New Zealand society was one short term effect of the tour. This split also had a social effect. New Zealand was divided into pro and anti-tour supporters. Rugby fans believed that rugby and politics should never be involved with each other. Families were divided with different views on the tour. One family had to sons that left in the morning to the game, one son was a police and the other a protester, there mother said she told them to not hurt each other and she would go to pray in the church. This shows how passionate the people were about what they believed in.

schools and businesses were also divided from the tour. Another short term effect was the social cost for the police. Trust towards the police dropped from what the people saw they were capable of. The creation of the police complaints commission was created as a result of the tour. Many police perfed out of the force because they couldn’t handle the stress of facing anti tour supporters. Some police were anti tour supporters but had to carry on doing their job. A long term effect of the tour protests was a change in the way rugby was viewed in New Zealand society.

After the 1981 tour people saw rugby as an indication of politics and disrepute’s between people. Robert Muldoon said the protests were everything that New Zealand stood against, anti-government, and anti-establishment. Now people saw rugby players as hooligans from the way they reacted at the Hamilton game. Coaches refused to coach teams, and teams would not attract new players. When the NZRFU proposed a tour in 1984, two top all blacks refused to play and took the decision to tour South Africa to court and the tour was cancelled.

Another effect of the tour protests was the pride the protesters took in the support they gave black South Africans during the tour and later years. The anti-apartheid movement helped raise the profile of blacks struggling against apartheid laws. Because the protests got a lot of international attention, it raised awareness on the international media front. Nelson Mandela said when he heard about the protests “it’s like the suns come out” New Zealand also won back the support of the black African nations. The springbok tour had a huge political and social effect on New Zealand.

Politically it was important to keep the tour going for government elections coming up. Socially the springbok tour changed police tactics and trust in police. New Zealand sees protests become more organised and more violent. The springbok tour split New Zealand into pro and anti-tour supporters. Families were divided, and work places were divided. The tour had an effect on rugby in later years because people did not want to get involved in coaching and new players were hard to find. Overall the tour helped raise awareness of blacks in South Africa, and eventually the apartheid was stopped. Brittany Johnson.

Cite this History of Springbok Tour Protests

History of Springbok Tour Protests. (2016, Sep 07). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/springbok-tour/

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