This page gives a broad outline of how the feature on the 1981 Springbok tour could be used by teachers and students of social studies and history. Students will find this is a concise summary that will assist them with revision.

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The 1981 Springbok tour

Contact with the apartheid regime in South Africa caused deep divisions in New Zealand society and put New Zealand firmly under the international spotlight between 1970 and 1985. Many African nations boycotted the 1976 Olympic Games because of the All Black tour to South Africa that year, and the 1981 Springbok tour to New Zealand was marred by violence. 

This feature is of great value to teachers and students working at various levels.

Social studies

Classes at Levels 4 and 5 could use the 1981 Springbok tour to look at the causes and effects of a significant event from New Zealand's past. How did the actions of people at this time influence the lives of individuals, and how was New Zealand society as a whole shaped by this event? How did New Zealanders respond, individually and collectively, to this issue? One approach could be to put the 1981 tour into a broader decade study of 'Life in the 1980s'. Many students will have family members who will have direct recollections of this event. See also memories contributed to our discussion thread about the 1981 Springbok Tour

NCEA history

This feature provides students with a context to examine New Zealand's sporting ties with South Africa – an important aspect of New Zealand's international relations in the latter decades of the 20th century 

For more detail of specific activities relating to this topic see: New Zealand in the world: 1945–1987

More classroom topics

Community contributions

2 comments have been posted about Classroom ideas - 1981 Springbok tour

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Posted: 22 Jul 2021

South Africa is a much better country now, nearly 30 years after Apartheid. We should all go and visit this amazing rainbow nation. The protests were all wort it. Thank you for protesting, all people in South Africa are much better off because of that.


Posted: 05 May 2011

police brutality occurred no matter what we protesters did even if it was just sitting there