Topics: Nelson Mandela, Rugby

Remembering the 1981 Springboks Tour

By Mere McLean

Many Māori remember when the Springboks toured NZ in 1981.  

Edwin Perry, a former president of the Hawke's Bay Rugby Union, was one of those who marched to protest against South Africa's apartheid regime at the time.

According to Edwin Perry, the rugby field sorts the men from the boys.

During the 80s, he was a keen rugby player and the president of the Hawke's Bay Māori Rugby Club, but he shared the same views as Nelson Mandela in doing away with race based teams.

In 1981, when the South African rugby team, the Springboks, toured NZ, Edwin Perry along with many others marched and protested outside McLean Park in Napier. 

Looking back at it, Edwin Perry believes that Nelson Mandela's influence helped shape the world's view.

Mr Perry wonders how much we have learned from that era, and says a very great man has fallen.

Edwin Perry sends his condolences to the family, "Nelson Mandela, rest now in peace.  Our sympathies go out to the Mandela family, much love and respect to you all."