Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Weekend Herald and Herald on Sunday.

Dark days of Springbok tour riots relived

Violent riots during the 1981 Springbok tour will be brought back to life in West Side 2. Photo / Michael Tubberty
Violent riots during the 1981 Springbok tour will be brought back to life in West Side 2. Photo / Michael Tubberty

One of the most infamous chapters in modern New Zealand history will be recreated for a hit TV drama.

Violent riots during the 1981 Springbok tour will be brought back to life around Auckland's Eden Park next week for Outrageous Fortune prequel, Westside 2.

The controversial tour divided the nation, resulting in unprecedented civil disorder, right.

Residents in surrounding streets have been advised traffic controls will be in place from Tuesday morning to Thursday evening during filming.

Locals have also been asked to keep modern cars out of sight.

"We will have about 150 extras playing the protesters and police. It is going to be quite a challenge," Rick Waite, South Pacific Pictures' location manager, told the Herald on Sunday. "Residents will face some disruptions but it is a quiet time of the year and driveways won't be blocked."

Containers and skip bins used at the time to restrict the movements of missile-throwing rioters will also be brought in.

The Springboks game went ahead despite fierce protests best remembered for the actions of Marx Jones and Grant Cole, who dropped flour bombs and flares on to the park from their hired Cessna aeroplane.

"Residents won't have to worry about low-flying planes because we will use real footage from the time for that," Waite said.

"We also won't be surrounding the stadium with barbed wire either."

Veteran protester John Minto marshalled the Tutu protest squad - named after then Archbishop Desmond Tutu - during the Eden Park chaos.

Antonia Prebble as Rita West in Westside. Photo / Supplied
Antonia Prebble as Rita West in Westside. Photo / Supplied

Minto was later surprised when it emerged stadium administrators had installed trap door emergency exits for the Springboks.

"There is plenty of drama to be recreated but it had better have a big budget," he said. "The police spent millions creating it. I think it will be a bit of a shock for younger people to see it.

"I am still often asked about the protests. They are now part of the wallpaper of New Zealand history."

Ten new episodes of Westside are being funded with $7.5 million from NZ on Air.

- Herald on Sunday

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