Following police warnings of civil strife, Prime Minister Norman Kirk informed the New Zealand Rugby Football Union that the government saw ‘no alternative’ to a postponement of the planned tour by the South African Springboks.
The year 1981 was a time of great economic anxiety and social and political unease in New Zealand. This was captured by the Auckland band Blam Blam Blam, which released ‘There is no depression in New Zealand’.
The Wellington-based band Riot 111 played on the back of a truck outside Avalon studios to protest against Television New Zealand's refusal to screen the video clip for their single 'Writing on the wall'.
The Poverty Bay team travelled to the game in the back of a meat truck to avoid detection by protestors. This set the pattern for the remainder of the tour, with each side trying to outsmart the opposition on game day.
The third and deciding test at Eden Park, Auckland, is perhaps best remembered for the flares and flour bombs dropped onto the pitch from a light plane. Outside the ground, violence erupted on an unprecedented scale.