chapter  12
23 Pages

Football as Social Critique: Protest Movements, Rugby and History in Aotearoa, New Zealand

The scale and intensity of the discontented winter's campaign against the 1981 Springbok tour, the extent of respectable New Zealand's involvement in mass direct political action, and their confrontation with state power in a material and personal sense has overshadowed the politics of the 1970s and early 1980s to become seen as unique - even if, like Tony Reid, there no is longer any certainty about the reasons for and effects of that confrontation. It is almost as if, in popular memory, the tour has become a singular event through which New Zealand, as a nation, had to go to reach maturity, or is an unrealized promise of a new world. This summer of maturity, in which the sun of York is an amnesic popular memory, has buried the tensions of the era and the resulting widespread social protest in the ocean-deep bosom of nostalgia. These nostalgias, one a liberal-Left nostalgia yearning for a more just world, the other a conservative nostalgia seeing the attainment of national maturity, operate by denying the political context of the anti-tour campaign and the significance of the historical frame of the 1950s and the post-1984 era.