RNZ – 24 September 2021

Spike Thomas remembers the anger he felt during the 1981 Springbok tour. He worked at a car parts dealership in Wellington Central – and often worked with well-known rugby players – before the game went professional.

Thomas and his colleagues wanted the tour to go ahead – they chased out anti-tour customers from the shop.

He and his brother’s support of the tour made them outliers in their family – there was the time during the tour when the whole family met a cousin at the airport and the pro-tour pair had to stand off to one side – as no one was talking to them.


Focusing on our own racism

Prue Kapua, now the President of the Māori Women’s Welfare League or Te Rōpū Wāhine Māori Toko I te Ora (MWWL), saw this too.

In 1981, she was a student at Auckland University and participated in protests in Wellington and Auckland – and was also an avid rugby fan.

The MWWL has been opposing New Zealand’s involvement in rugby with South Africa for decades ahead of this tour.

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