Christchurch student starts new research on Springboks tour

By Tom Doudney

Canterbury University masters student Melissa Morrison research would cover people's feelings at the time of the Springboks Tour. Photo / Christchurch Star
Canterbury University masters student Melissa Morrison research would cover people's feelings at the time of the Springboks Tour. Photo / Christchurch Star

Capturing the experiences and impacts of the 1981 Springbok tour on 'ordinary' New Zealanders, rather than prominent protesters, is the focus of new research.

The three match tour saw mass protests against Apartheid in South Africa, inside and outside the stadium, with the game in Hamilton called off.

Canterbury University masters student Melissa Morrison, who is writing her thesis on the subject, said most recent texts were written by or about prominent individuals such as leading protesters Trevor Richards and John Minto.

The Springboks tour saw mass protests against Apartheid in South Africa, inside and outside the stadium, with the game in Hamilton called off. Photo / Christchurch Star
The Springboks tour saw mass protests against Apartheid in South Africa, inside and outside the stadium, with the game in Hamilton called off. Photo / Christchurch Star

"They really haven't told the everyday New Zealanders' story and so what I am trying to do is to uncover these every day stories of people who may not have necessarily protested or gone to the games, they may have just carried on with their normal lives, but they still had an opinion," Ms Morrison said.

"Most of what has been written about the tour was written in the immediate aftermath so it kind of just explains what happened rather than the reasons why and I think that's because it was too fresh in the New Zealand psyche to really digest why people acted as they did."

Her research would cover both people's feelings at the time and how they felt about it in hindsight.

"I am going to be asking people 'if the same sort of situation were to happen today would you act in the same way, would your opinion have changed and does that reflect on New Zealand society changing as well?'"

Although Ms Morrison, 22, had not been born when the tour took place, she came from a "rugby mad" family and both of her parents attended the Christchurch test match as rugby supporters.

"I do have to keep in check my own biases when I eventually come to write it so that it is balanced but yes, I have heard my parents' stories about it and the protesters trying to break on to the field at Lancaster Park."

Ms Morrison is looking for people to interview and anyone who would like to take part in her research can contact her on 027 475 2840 or melissa.morrison@pg.canterbury.ac.nz

- Christchurch Star

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