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Close Up: Springbok special

Published: 9:29PM Tuesday July 04, 2006 Source: Close Up

This month marks 25 years since the the Springbok tour that cast a shadow over New Zealand unlike anything the country had seen before, or since .

It was election year and Prime Minister Robert Muldoon - defending a razor thin majority - wanted to ensure the Springboks played in provincial cities like Gisborne, which they hadn't done since 1965.

South Africa's apartheid policy and New Zealand's consistent sporting contacts throughout the 1970s had caused much consternation and yet all pleas to cancel the tour fell on deaf ears.

And so it was on the Poho-o-Rawiri Marae in Gisborne on July 19, 1981, that the Springboks had their first taste of New Zealand hospitality.

But no-one who attended that welcome could anticipate that New Zealand was about to descend into near civil war. A war played out twice a week as the Boks moved from city to city.

Mark Sainsbury and the Close Up team marked the tour anniversary, looking back on the major events and speaking to the people that were there.

See the related video for the Close Up special