Springbok Rugby Tour 1981

Where can I find information about the Springbok Rugby Tour of 1981?

Image: Anti-Springbok tour demonstration, Willis St, Wellington by Evening Post. Collection: Alexander Turnbull Library.

Entry last updated: 16/10/17

Introduction

In 1981 the South African rugby team, the Springboks, came to tour New Zealand. They had toured before, but the South African apartheid system was causing increasing public outcry in New Zealand. Things came to a head in 1981, with New Zealanders fiercely divided over whether the Springbok tour should go ahead. There were numerous protests at rugby games around the country and some violent encounters between the pro-tour and anti-tour movements.

Before the tour

The South African Springboks and the All Black rugby teams had toured New Zealand and South Africa before 1981. Try these sites for information about the background of this particular tour and why it was controversial.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, e.g. 'Springbok rugby tour' We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

Supporters and protesters

Have a look at these sites to find out about opinions on both sides of the controversy.

DigitalNZ

DigitalNZ brings together lots of digitised New Zealand content and culture, and is a good place to look for information about the Springbok Rugby tour.

  • Enter your keywords eg 'Springbok Tour 1981' or ‘Springbok Rugby'.
  • The results are grouped by the type of information, like images, videos, newspapers, articles and research papers.
Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.

Australia New Zealand Reference Centre

This is one of the EPIC resources, a collection of reliable databases. Here you can find information on why people opposed or supported the tour and about the impact the tour had on New Zealand.

  • Try searching with the keywords Springbok tour' to find lots of newspaper and magazine articles.
  • It's a good idea to limit the results to full-text articles by ticking the box on the left side of the results.
Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Museum of New Zealand - Te Papa Tongarewa

Te Papa is New Zealand's National Museum and it houses collections and exhibitions about 20th Century history and culture.

Tips: We like sites that are from government or other reputable organisations, because we can trust the information. You can sometimes tell these sites by their web address – they might have .gov or .edu in their address – or by looking at their About us or Contact pages.

After the tour

Try these websites to get more of an idea on the impact the tour had on New Zealand society.

NZHistory

There are different ways to use this website to find information on the Springbok rugby tour 1981.

  1. Search the website using keywords like 'Springbok tour', or look by date under Events.
  2. You can also look at the topics Politics and Government, then Protest and reform.
Tips: NZHistory is a great website for information about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we go all the way down the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

New Zealand Geographic Archive

Another EPIC resource, this site has got some great pictures. Search using the keywords 'springbok tour' to find articles, like Tainted Games.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

NZonScreen

NZ On Screen is the online showcase of New Zealand television, film and music video. All content is free to view. There are several films on the effects of the Tour.

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

Books and DVDs

There are books which have been written on the Springbok rugby tour of 1981 - check out your local public or school library to see what they have.

Here are some recommended titles:

There is also a DVD available on the impact of the tour:

SCIS no: 1839526
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