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Waikato-Springboks game abandoned

Two members of St John's College run onto Rugby Park, Hamilton, while two supporters of Springbok Rugby Tour try to stop them, 1981
Two members of St John's College run onto Rugby Park, Hamilton, while two supporters of Springbok Rugby Tour try to stop them, 1981 1981, Black, Peter (1948– ), Waikato. Purchased 1983 with New Zealand Lottery Board funds. Te Papa

Anti-Springbok tour protesters carried a cross onto the pitch in Hamilton, New Zealand, before the Waikato–Springboks game in July 1981.

Many church groups opposed the tour. A student from St John's Theological College, Auckland, made the cross as a rallying point. He was part of the group that occupied the field in Hamilton. 'I was determined that if the police were going to do anything … the point of contact would be the cross.'

Leading South African anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela later said it was 'as if the sun had come out' when he heard the game had been called off.

Watch the 1983 documentary Patu! about the Springbok tour



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