New Zealand had been granted a mandate over the former German colony following the First World War. Growing Samoan calls for independence came to a head during a Mau demonstration in Apia which left 12 people dead.
For 56 days in July, August and September 1981, New Zealanders were divided against each other in the largest civil disturbance seen since the 1951 waterfront dispute. The cause of this was the visit of the South African rugby team – the Springboks.
In Hamilton the protestors occupying the pitch had chanted 'The whole world is watching'. The same applied to New Zealand as a nation. Some believed the tour was an opportunity to address racism in New Zealand and show solidarity with the oppressed black majority in South Africa.