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Salient. Victoria University Students Newspaper. Volume 38, No 1. March 4, 1975

The Spirit of '76

page 6

The Spirit of '76

The Halt All Rascist Tours movement is planning its biggest campaign yet. Its aim is to stop the 1976 All Black tour of South Africa.

Hart's leaders say that the recent attacks on the movement by the right-wing press show that the supporters of sporting contact with South Africa are already worried about growing opposition to the 1976 tour.

In a series of interviews recently Hart's national leaders talked to me about the strengthening of the movement over the last few months, some of its plans for action against rascist sports and the continuing importance of opposing sporting contacts with South Africa.

'People claim that Hart went out of existence with the postponement of the 1973 Springbok tour of New Zealand', says Hart's National Secretary, Peter Tyler. This is nonsense. The really significant thing is the way the movement has grown outside the main centres since 1972.

The Editor of 'The Dominion' claimed recently that we were a student group. But there aren't many students in Rotorua, Napier, Blenheim, Invercargill or on the West Coast, and there are active active Hart groups in alt these.

'As well as our supporters in these secondary areas, Hart has six area officers based in the main centres: Auckland; Waikato (based in Hamilton); Central Districts (based in Palmerston North); Wellington; Canterbury/West Coast (based in Christchurch) and Otago (based in Dunedin). The National Council meets every six weeks, consisting of the area officers and seven national officers.

The National Council doesn't meet simply to hand down decisions' says Peter Tyler. 'It meets regularly to get reports of activities around the country. Hart's national leadership has to be guided by the decisions of local activists.

'Similarly, Hart's area officers and activists in the secondary centres have to keep in touch regularly with the rank and file supporters. So frequent meetings and discussions are essential. Hart's activities in the smaller centres can't be directed from Wellington because we just aren't closely enough in touch with conditions in those centres'.

After a recent National Council meeting in Wellington I talked to Hart leaders about their plans for the campaign against the 1976 tour.

'At this stage of the campaign we're concentrating on public education' says Graeme Collins, Hart's Publications Officer. 'Within the next few weeks supporters will be able to get the movement's latest publication 'Stop the 76 Tour' from the National Office'.

I was told that this publication will explain what the 1976 All Black tour of South Africa is all about, why it is important to oppose it, factual information on the debate on 'multinational' sport in South Africa and on the different rugby organisations in that country.

Next off the production line will be Hart's Protestors' Manual. 'The Manual won't just be a source of information on apartheid' Graeme Collins says. 'Its most important sections will outline the forms of action individuals and groups can take in main towns and secondary centres; suggestions on how to organise a Hart group; how to get a meeting off the ground; and the various forms of assistance Hart activists can get from their area officers and the National Office in Wellington. The Manual will primarily be a guide to action'.

The debate on sporting contacts with South Africa has been a hot one in New Zealand for a number of years. But why pick on South Africa?

'The apartheid doctrine, which is the basis and all-pervading philosophy of the South African Government, denies the common humanity of men. It asserts that some men, by virtue of their colour, have the right to dominate and exploit other men whose colour and ancestry are different. And the whole state is organised to assert and uphold that claim of colour privilege. There are many tyrannical governments in the world, but only in South Africa is that tyranny based on a claim that a man's rights in his own country depend on his racial classification'. President Nyrere of Tanzania in Auckland last year.

Trevor Richards, Hart's National Chairman and the movement's best known public spokesman, emphasises this point, and argues that South Africa's apartheid policies aren't just an internal matter for that country.

South African Games

South African Games

'The apartheid regime in South Africa is a continuing and growing threat to peace on the African continent and to good race relations around the world. It is a government that is in the business of exporting rascist ideas right around the world, and New Zealand has become a target for this filth.

'Sporting contacts with other countries have become essential for South Africa' continues Trevor Richards, 'because the apartheid regime has been isolated in so many other areas.' And it is in the field of sport that the viciousness of apartheid is very clearly displayed.

'Recently the South African government has come up with the policy of 'multinational' sport to try to bamboozle people overseas. 'Multinational' sport is simply a dressed-up version of apartheid. Blacks can play blacks, blacks can play coloureds, blacks can play whites etc. This new policy hasn't changed things a bit. It still infringes the Olympic principle of sport that people should be able to play with and against each other, regardless of race, nationality or creed.'

Hart has often been accused of introducing politics into sport. The movement's leaders have a simple answer to that accusation.

'The late Norman Kirk answered this question very clearly at the time the Government postponed the 1973 Springbok tour of New Zealand' says Trevor Richards.

'The South African government has declined to allow mixed rugby for political reasons which it no doubt finds compelling. But when there is criticism of the introduction of politics into sport, I hope the critics will be clear who introduced politics into sport. It wasn't the New Zealand Government that introduced it, but the New Zealand Government' must face the consequences of the the introduction of politics into sport and so while the situation is not of our own making, it certainly is one that has consequences so far as we in New Zealand are concerned.

...'Only if there was clear evidence of genuine and basic changes and confirmation in official statements on South African sporting policy, reaching right down through the national, provincial and club levels, would the Government be prepared to approve a visit of a South African sporting team.' And what about Uganda?

'Well, what about it?' replies Trevor Richards. We've been waiting for a long time for the 'what about Uganda' lobby to come up with definite evidence of racial discrimination in the selection of Ugandan sports teams. But they haven't done so and I strongly suspect the reason why is that Ugandan sports teams are not selected in a rascist fashion the manager of the Ugandan team at the Commonwealth Games was an Irishman!

'The way in which right-wing groups have tried to use the suffering of the Ugandan people for their own political advantage makes me sick. Groups like ADSAT and Ward have never lifted a finger to help those who have suffered from General Amin's rascist policies.

'The Labour Government's decision to postpone the 1973 Springbok tour, and its subsequent policy of opposing sporting contacts with South Africa, was a declaration to the world that New Zealand had stopped sitting on the fence on the apartheid issue.

'Since that decision was made New Zealand's relations with independent black Africa have grown steadily. President Nyrere came here last year and received a very friendly welcome from both the NZ Government and people. His visit has been followed by numerous contacts between New Zealanders and Africans on both official and unofficial bases.

page 6

'The Labour Government's stand against apartheid has helped bring page 7 about much closer relations with third world countries in general. Our standing in the world has improved. Closer relations with countries outside the small group of Western nations that the National Government associated with almost exclusively, have had very beneficial effects as far as our trading relations are concerned.

'Hart sees the Governments policy on sporting contacts with South Africa as part of a process of changing NZ from a mouthpiece of the imperialist and colonial powers to an independent nation that stands on its own feet. Certainly, the Labour Government has got a long way to go in working towards an independent foreign policy, but I think that the further they go, the more the process becomes an irreversible one.'

Finally, Hart's leaders stressed to me that everyone who opposes rascist sport must become involved in the movement if the 1976 All Black tour is to be stopped.

'For a start people should contact their local area officers or the National Office of Hart' says Trevor Richards. They will be sent a copy of the Protestors' Manual which provides detailed suggestions of the kinds of action people can take. Hart's local area officer will contact them and get them involved in planning action in their own areas. I will be making several extensive tours throughout the country this year to contact supporters, and discuss their plans with them. It's also very important that people should contact us if they hear anything about sports bodies that are planning to visit South Africa.'

Hart's Wellington address, and that of the National Office, is: P.O. Box 9204, Wellington.