James Ihaka

James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Flour power protest: Drama in the air and on the pitch

Marx Jones flies over Eden Park during the 1981 test match with South Africa.
Marx Jones flies over Eden Park during the 1981 test match with South Africa.

Marx Jones, the pilot who flew over Eden Park during the final test match of the 1981 Springbok tour, says he is yet to apologise to All Black prop Gary Knight for flour-bombing him.

The 64-year-old semi-retired builder told the Herald he last met up with Knight outside court before his 1982 trial.

"We were outside the courtroom one day and we said to him, 'You won't be doing that [play the Springboks] again, will you?' And he said, 'I'd bloody do it again tomorrow'."

Jones' flyover was inspired by fellow anti-apartheid protester Pat McQuarrie, who stole a light plane from Taupo and threatened to dive it into a stand at the Springboks' called-off tour match against Waikato at Rugby Park.

Jones hired a Cessna from Dairy Flat and with Grant Cole set off for Mt Eden armed with 100 flour bombs and anti-tour propaganda.

"We could see it all - it was serious, it was murder and mayhem, or could have been.

"The cops had put big rubbish bins around and barbed wire around and midway through the cops went nuts and started batoning a whole lot of people."

The on-field drama was no less tense with Jones' contribution probably not helping things.

"But we used paper bags to burst on impact so no one would get hurt. No one did either. It was more an ego thing for the eight or so people who were witnesses at my trial."

After being chased by air force helicopters, Jones was arrested upon touching down at Dairy Flat.

Things were "a bit dicky" after he served six months in jail.

"I got a few letters from people saying they wanted to put a .303 bullet into me but quite a few of them came around.

"They realised later that there was a worldwide ban on having any contact at all with South Africa because of apartheid and our bloody Government broke the ban by allowing them in here."

On the field was halfback Dave Loveridge, who tended to Knight shortly after he had been decked by a 450g bag of flour.

"It just sort of came out of the blue, I turned around and bang! He was on the deck."

Loveridge himself would soon be out for the count as he tried to stop giant South African winger Ray Mordt from scoring his third try, which levelled the scores at 22-all.

Loveridge recalls coming to in the dressing room when deep into injury time fullback Allan Hewson slotted the match-winning penalty.

"I heard the crowd outside who gave out a big cheer because I was told he was going to have a shot at goal.

"I thought he must have kicked it over, which he did. It was a huge roar."

- NZ Herald

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