Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University, Wellington. Vol. 22, No. 6. Wednesday, June 24, 1959
Stay Home Kiwi — Dignity Before Rugby
Stay Home Kiwi
Dignity Before Rugby
Let's shear away this woolly thinking on the All White All Black question. How can a sport be furthered by ignoring all moral and ethical principles?
Let's be honest. The question isn't whether Maoris should be included or not, but whether New Zealand can be honourably represented in a country whose policy it may acknowledge but which it can't possibly condone. The answer is surely no.
Let's stop this nonsense 'about the Maoris being put in an awkward position if they are allowed to go to South Africa, The whole nation—and New Zealand is still ostensibly one nation—will place itself in an awkward position if anyone goes.
What sort of sportsmen can possibly be so bloody thinking that they can believe the phrase "the game's the thing" can possibly be interpreted "the game's the only thing?"
Future generations of rugby players may regret the New Zealand Rugby Union's lack of moral courage.
The issue is straightforward.
No rugby crown anywhere in the world is worth embarassment to ourselves and that means Pakeha and Maori, for New Zealand still believes all are equal before God and the law.
What idiocy to suggest that an integrated team to go to South Africa might mean loss of special tours for the Maoris. Since when has equality meant a denial of special rights?
How wonderful the N.Z.R.F.U's. decision will look in the Malayan newspapers so soon after the reports of the treatment of our High Commissioner's brother in a Papa kura Hotel.
New Zealand has enough racial trouble still to be cleared up at home, why parade it before the whole world?
Can a leather oval be so important?
No longer can it be said that the Maoris don't really care (how often this excuse is used) even Mr Love's labour was lost; though it rallied a large proportion of Maori leadership to utter its disgust at his remarks.
But even if the Maoris didn't care—even if our brothers said "go to the party, enjoy yourselves, never mind about me"—could we honestly go without a twinge of conscience?
If the South African rugby players are sportsmen, and they seem to be, they will surely understand our motives.
Such a simple gesture as the cancellation of the tour would bring even a little ray of hope to millions of downtrodden people that somewhere, somebody cared.
Such a gesture would encourage the pride of the Maori and make his, and the Pakeha's assimilation just a little easier.
Or is pride in football prowess more important than human dignity?
It is not too late to cancel the tour.
No decision is irrevocable. Right till the day a team arrives In South Africa (if it ever leaves these shores) the decision can and should be fought.
Even if the battle is lost it will be an honourable defeat and may counter ill-affects the tour may bring.
The white South Africans have made their bed. It is not our bed. It is not a comfortable bed. And it is not one we could possibly share and remain chaste.
There can be no apologies for the emotional appeal of this article for the subject is essentially an emotional one; either we feel the call of human suffering or we ourselves are degraded. Let not anyone pretend that this is not a vital issue. However trivial its basic cause the issue has generated "a white" heat.
The whole world is watching how New Zealand respects its dignity.