Where were YOU in ’81?

A Memoir

K R Bolton. 3570 WORDS

The Springbok tour of 1981 was apparently a defining moment for many New Zealanders. Forty years ago, during July, August and September, New Zealand came as close to civil war as it has seen. The National Government stubbornly resisted pressures from without and within to end relations with South Africa and ‘halt all racist tours’, as the primary anti-apartheid organisation was called; better known by its acronym of HART.

There was grassroots sympathy for South Africa, largely but not wholly based on the usual commitment by New Zealanders to rugby, and an instinctive antipathy towards ‘stirrers’. The policy of the National Government was that politics and sport should not be conflated; that there should not be travel restrictions based on politics, and that the government should not intervene in such rights of the individual. The position was weak at best. However, one could support South Africa, while avoiding the smear of ‘racism’.

Serval large organisations emerged on that basis: SPIR (Stop Politics in Sport); Free Nation NZ (FRENZ) and WARD (War Against Recreational Disruption) whose organiser, Robert Fenton, was elected as a National MP for Hastings. The premise of such organisations was encapsulated in a letter by Yvonne Wilcox of FRENZ to Rugby Union administrator Ces Blazey: ‘upholding the right of the individual to have freedom of choice about where a person wishes to pursue a sporting interest, and against whom and to promote non-political and non-racial sport worldwide’. (15 February 1982).


Of the National Party there were grassroots factions who supported South Africa, but in the higher echelons the most notable – and perhaps only – individual was Minister of Maori Affairs, Ben Couch, who stated on a television interview that apartheid was the most apt method for SA, and was promptly reprimanded by his white liberal colleague, Foreign Affairs minister Brian Talboys.

There were more forthright positions than those whose support was based on ‘keeping politics out of sport’, based on support for the White remnant in Africa, and for apartheid as the best method for maintaining civilisation. Between these stalwarts of White defence and the opponents of political interference in sports, there was something of a middle ground: those who saw South Africa, at a time of the Cold War, as a bulwark against Soviet expansionism, and that with the fall of SA the mineral wealth and sea route would fall into Russian hands, which would create a dire situation for the West.

Those who uncompromisingly supported the Whites in Africa included the Friends of South Africa, headed by a Wellingtonian, J M Taylor, a National Party member, whose main activity was to write letters to the press; and the NZ-Rhodesia Society. The largest was the NZ League of Rights, which at its heyday had around 1000 subscribers (actual membership was limited to 12, as invited members of the incorporated society), comprised largely of war veterans who had seen the betrayal of the Empire and of British values after the war.

Among sporadic actions, in 1976 under the auspices of the Democratic Nationalist Party a picket supporting the SA team at the World Softball Championships in Lower Hutt, comprised half a dozen DNP supporters confronting 8oo HART supporters. Public support for the DNP stance was notable. The DNP display board featuring pictures of Blacks mutilated by terrorists was particularly irritating to the Left.

The Southern Africa Friendship Association (SAFA), formed circa 1965 to put gusto into the issue. The founders and spokesmen were two army comrades, Major Barry Wilcox, who had seen service in India and in Kenya during the Mau Mau insurgency; and Lt Col A C R Elderton. Another organisation founded by Lt Col Elderton was the Aid Rhodesia Movement (ARM). Elderton, born in India, was the fourth generation to see military service there. He became a senior administrator in Burma, having warned that Singapore was inadequately defended to resist a Japanese invasion. Wilcox was involved with others associated with the League of Rigths and SAFA in forming the NZ Commonwealth Alliance.

From the milieu around Elderton a younger group, including Elderton’s son, Colin, produced a newsletter, Pointing Right, which served as a rallying point and gave cogency to a conservative outlook unencumbered by National Party liberalism. A ‘front’ group was formed by Ashburton schoolteacher Brian Thompson, the Association Defending South African Tours. These individuals did not equivocate in defending the position of the European, and did not hide behind euphemisms about ‘individual rights’, ‘no politics in sports’, and the like. The first issue of Pointing Right, set the tone for what was a lively periodical produced from 1975 to 1976. The writer, probably Colin Elderton, rejected multiculturalism, and was dubious about the future of bi-culturalism, foreseeing what has now unfolded. Questioning whether New Zealand’s status as a ‘multi-racist society’ is something of which to be ‘proud’, he wrote:

The truth of course, is that New Zealand is a primarily white, Caucasian community living alongside an original, already established people of a different culture, i.e. the Maori. After 50 years of conflict the white man had bought and fought his way into occupation of most of the country, even as the different ‘waves’ of Maoris did before them. The fact that these two cultures are living peacefully side by side, however, must not fool us into thinking that this state of affairs will be anything but a source of weakness in the future, though certainly, we should be proud of maintaining good relations for so long, and must make every effort to see that this continues.

Maori – Pakeha Good Relations must be Protected, Pointing Right, No. 1, 1973

Colin Elderton saw that the situation would deteriorate with the importation of further migrants of sundry ethni. “New Zealanders should realize then, that far from being something to be ‘proud of’: a bi-racial, let alone a multi-racist society is a source of weakness…” He saw that it would be a means of opening up to ‘outside meddling’ from the ‘Katanga raping United Nations’, and communist-funded subversives.

Ron Keen, an Auckland motor mechanic by trade, had a depth of thinking and articulate manner, editing a newsletter, NZ Phalanx circa 1975-79. He had fought in Italy. Chairman of the NZ Commonwealth Alliance, based on the survival of bonds with British kin, point 16 of the 19 aims was ‘closer NZ-Rhodesia-South Africa links on commerce, culture, and defence’. (NZ Commonwealth Alliance, An Outline of our Broader Objectives).

1981 Tour

By the time of the 1981 Springbok tour, Pointing Right, SAFA and the NZ Commonwealth Alliance had gone.

At the time a bulletin named Spark (adorned with a picture of Marx – Groucho, not Karl) a spoof of the Bolshevik newspaper of that name (Iskra), was distributed around Victoria University by the student wing of the New Force Party. The second issue addressed the Springbok tour issue:

The student community which comprises such a large proportion of the ‘anti-apartheid movement’, and so willingly parades the streets on demonstrations against South Africa’s separate development policy, naively imagines itself to be part of some kind of international movement to liberate the Black man from ‘Boer slavery’.

These, for the most part sincere, idealists could hardly imagine that they are serving the purposes of banking and monopoly interests which seek to replace separate development with an integrated cosmopolitan economic system that will place the Black man in a system of bondage to the most unscrupulous capitalist interests. (Bolton, Spark, No. 2, August 1981, Anti-Apartheid Agitation -–who Profits?).

Posters appeared reading ‘Defend South Africa’, and spoofing with a caricature, the Third World/U.N. condemnation of SA.

While HART was throwing thousands of supporters onto the streets to confront the police and rugby fans, putting into the front lines Maori and Polynesian gang members with helmets and shields, some resistance was offered by the Nationalist Workers Party (successor of the New Force).

NWP’s Auckland branch handed out thousands of leaflets at the sports events, which I had printed with striking red headlines on a table-top offset press. While the party upheld the ‘rights’ of sportspeople to be free from state intervention, the NWP did not obscure its support for White SA, stating that ‘we encourage relations with our White brothers in South Africa’, and that nothing is to be gained from turning towards Black Africa. (Leaflet: Support the Tour, NWP, Lower Hutt, 1981).


By this time however, the Right and conservative opposition was in decline and what took its place was Liberalism and Free Trade doctrine. In 1980 Rhodesia had ceased to exist. In 1984 diplomatic relations had been withdrawn from SA. Many old stalwarts, war veterans with guts and clarity, had died, while younger activists had dropped out.

In 1989 I attempted a final effort on behalf of White SA, when everything else had faded, and it was apparent that the Afrikaner Government was going to abdicate to Black rule and the Oppenheimer plan for globlaisation. The NZ Friends of South Africa (no connection with the previous Friends of SA) was established in June 1989. A promotional leaflet outlining the position on SA was produced and sent out to the Pointing Right mailing list, which would also have included the membership of Lt Col Elderton’s SAFA. Self-determination for the Afrikaners was affirmed, of whom it was stated that

‘their traditions go back more than 300 years. They descend from men and women who clawed a living from a landscape which featured drought, depression, war, and in the process built a great nation and civilisation. When these Dutch pioneers established their first settlement on the Cape in 1652, and began to migrate northward, SA was only sparsely populated by Hottentots and Bushmen, who had been brutally slaughtering each other. It was not until 150 years had passed that the Afrikaners met Blacks migrating southward. (Support White Self-Determination. Support South Africa? NZFSA,1989).

After such sacrifices it was asked whether the Afrikaners should ‘today betray the blood and toil of their forefathers and deliver their nation and civilisation to Black rule and consequent chaos and destruction…?’ (Ibid.).

Issue no. 1 of the NZFSA Bulletin gave the aims:

(1) The NZFSA supports the right of self-determination for the white people of SA, and affirms that the only practical way of maintaining that right is through the policy of separate racial development (apartheid). (2) The NZSFA will, to the limit of its resources, counter the anti-white SA propaganda emanating from the NZ Government, media, churches and anti-apartheid lobbies, etc. (3) The NZSFA demands the resumption of diplomatic, sporting and trade relations with the Republic of SA.

The lead article pointed out that the Government’s policy was perfectly consistent and premised on a doctrine and therefore it was pointless for any well-meaning groups to ‘lobby’ the Government with the hope that there might be a change of policy. This was based on the defensive position of pro-SA groups that saw the Government’s policy as hypocritical when relations are maintained with Communist states. I was in particular referring to All Black Andy Hayden’s formation of Sports People Against Double Standards. There were no double-standards: the Government was leftist and anti-White:

The Government’s policy against white SA is NOT hypocritical; it is perfectly consistent. Most pro-SA groups have been mistaken in believing that the Government has been dictated to by Black Africa, The Commonwealth Secretariat, or the UNO, and that its policy toward SA is a ‘double standard’. Labour needed no such pressure from outside, nor from such groups as HART, to pursue its anti-SA course, as it is a product of the party’s commitment to multiculturalism.

This seldom-realized fact was stated plainly by PM Lange in a letter to this writer dated 18 June 1985:

‘I know that violations of human rights occur in many countries other than SA. And I share the concerns of New Zealanders of goodwill at that fact. But only SA, and no other country, has entrenched racism in its constitution and in the law of the land. Apartheid is a special challenge to NZ where we are trying to build a genuine multi-racial society’.

Bolton, Multi-Cultural Dogma Key to Government’s South Africa Policy, NZFSA Bulletin, No. 1, 1989.

Issue 2 of the Bulletin reported that the Government had given $3,500 to the African Information Centre to develop material on Africa for NZ schools. Among the titles on the AIC booklist were: Unity in Action: Pictorial History of the Freedom Charter (the ANC charter), African Origins of Civilisation, Black Power in SA, Ethiopian Revolution, Problems of Socialism.

Issue 3 reported that South Africa’s Foreign Minister Pik Botha had told the US Secretary of State that his government accepted that ‘apartheid must go’. The fourth and final issue of what had been a monthly bulletin appeared in September 1989.

Other than having received the support of Ernest Thornton, a relatively long-time Rightist despite his youth, as Christchurch representative for the NZFSA, there had been a woeful lack of interest by whatever remained of the Right. My disgust at the indifference was total, and I withdrew in disillusionment, as the old vanguard had mostly died or given up, returning to activities briefly in 2004, and again withdrawing from the banality of what had appeared. It is only in the last few years that there has been the formation of a Right that is worthy of the memory of those such as Ron Keen, Major Wilcox, and the Eldertons, albeit in a world quite different.

Paradoxes – Where Stands the Right?

However, it is a strange situation today when opposition to Maori intransigence is based on perceived ‘Maori privileges’ being called ‘New Zealand apartheid’ (sic). To call this position ‘right-wing’ or ‘conservative’ is a travesty. It is Liberal, and based on the 19th century premise that we are all individuals without any bonding of ‘race’, ethnos or culture. This is the position of Hobson’s Pledge, for example, based around the comment of Governor Hobson when the Maori chiefs ceded their sovereignty to the Crown in 1840, at Waitangi; ‘we are one people’. It is social contract theory, the basis of Liberalism, that decrees society is formed by individuals ‘contracting’ for the mutual respect of their commerce and property.

Hence, the ‘one people, one nation’ proponents, albeit well-intentioned, insist that Maori are perpetrating ‘apartheid’, and allusions are made to South Africa. It is a slur on the Afrikaner, and uses the same premises in attacking apartheid as HART and the extreme Left, and this is done by those that are widely assumed to be ‘right-wing’.

The dissident-Right finds itself in a paradoxical position of being at odds with those who oppose Maori intransigence because they do so on premises that we cannot support. For example a Maori academic who opposes He Puapua does so because the demands imply ethnonationalism, which the dissident-Right upholds. Prof. Elizabeth Rata of Auckland University, quoted by Hobson’s Pledge, writes:

With the sudden emergence into our political life of the revolutionary report He Puapua, it is clear New Zealanders are at a crossroads. We will have to decide whether we want our future to be that of an ethno-nationalist state or a democratic-nationalist one.

Ethno-nationalism has political categories based on racial classification – the belief that our fundamental identity (personal, social and political) is fixed in our ancestry. Here the past determines the future. Identity, too, is fixed in that past. In contrast, democratic-nationalism has one political category – that of citizenship – justified by the shared belief in a universal human identity.

These two opposing approaches to how the nation is imagined, constituted and governed are currently in contention. We will have to choose which form of nationalism will characterise New Zealand by 2040. (Elizabeth Rata, Ethno-Nationalism or Democratic Nationalism?, Hobson’s Pledge, https://www.hobsonspledge.nz/elizabeth_rata_ethno_nationalism_or_democratic_nationalism_which_way_ahead_for_new_zealand

It is surely that the dissident-Right chooses the belief that our fundamental identity (personal, social and political) is fixed in our ancestry. Here the past determines the future. Identity, too, is fixed in that past’. She states further that ethnonationalism ‘becomes a danger to liberal societies regulated by democratic politics when ethnicity is politicised’. Liberal societies are precisely what the dissident-Right does not uphold. It is the modern epoch of decay that we stand against, in the spirit of Evola. We do not want the decay implicit in ‘democratic politics’. We do not want it for ourselves or anyone else. We do not want the integrated cosmopolitan economy that is implicit in liberal-democracy; that was the basis for the destruction of apartheid at the instigation of Oppenheimer et al.

Against ‘White Supremacy’

From a dissident-Right position there is nothing wrong with Maori self-determination, and Maori sovereignty. So far from being ‘white supremacists’ can the dissident-Right really defend the maintenance of the present system of Late Western liberal-capitalism? Why would the dissident-Right defend the status quo and insist that it is adhered to by Maori, when the dissident-Right is nothing if not a doctrine of restoration that eschews the modern epoch as the cycle of decay within Western Civilisation? The process of globalisation is part of this. Why would the dissident-Right want to impose on anyone else a system and defend an epoch that is a cancerous pathogen to the traditional ethos and spirit of the European?

Paradoxically, there are Maori radicals whose aim is for Maori to co-opt Western capitalism and put a Maori façade on it. They wish to proceed globally with their $69 billion plus in assets, to become part of the globalised economy, taking the path that Mandela gave SA. The dissident-Right does not even advocate for the maintenance of Western capitalism much less dream of its global hegemony over all nations, races and cultures. Nor can the dissident-Right be so enamoured with liberal-democracy as to object that a resurgence of Maori or any other tribalism would undermine that system. We are indeed neo-tribalists. We stand for the organic community: Gemeinschaft, in sociological terms, not the Liberal social contract; Gesellschaft.

Common Enemy?

One would expect rather that the dissident-Right and the Maori sovereignty movement would be in alliance against a common enemy. But no. During the 1980s I spoke on the Seaview Marae at the invitation of Mana Motuhake on this matter, but to no avail, and they were subsumed by the system. It is unfortunate that the Maori radical cannot see beyond the reclaiming of the entirety of New Zealand without resorting to the denigration and dispossession of the New Zealand European, while expecting to be funded for doing so.

There is much in He Puapua that could be laudable, if it was not premised on imposing demands on the New Zealand European, on demanding that Europeans become imbued with Maori culture, that the NZ European provides the largesse for his own demise, that the political, social, economic and cultural structures of New Zealand (including the name) be changed not solely to provide the Maori with self-governance, but to impose that governance over all others, until there is an underclass of Pakeha-Maori.

At the 1860 conference of Maori chiefs at Kohimaramara, called by the Governor to clarify the situation with the Maori, the chiefs not only acknowledged they had ceded their sovereignty to the Crown, to subject themselves to British law, but that they wanted to repudiate their own tradition and become ‘Pakeha’. To that extent, the research of the ‘one people’ movement is accurate, recent demands that the Treaty be reinterpreted to mean something different notwithstanding.

This accorded with the British Liberal doctrine of ‘civilising the world’ according to British Liberal values. To say this was ‘white supremacy’ is to ignore the manner by which the Afrikaners, Scots and Irish were treated, and indeed the English, proletarianised through industrialisation and urban drift. It is hardly something the dissident-Right can support; it is the embryonic stage of what has become globalisation under the auspices now of the USA. The dissident-Right does not seek a return to the 19th Century Liberal doctrine of creating a ‘brown-skinned Englishman’, any more than he supports the rebirth of the 19th century Pakeha-Maori as the future for the dispossessed New Zealand European.


He Puapua goes so far as to favourably allude to the American Indian Reservations as an example of self-governance. The NZ colonial government provided areas for Maori that were to be self-governned, but these were never actualised.

The dissident-Right should support Maori self-determination insofar as it is not a leach on the back of the New Zealand European, and is genuinely self-sustaining. The edifices of such self-determination already exist, and one might wonder what else is needed. The New Zealand Maori Council and a myriad of other organisations from hapu up provide the ready-made infrastructure for Maori self-determination.

What is lacking is an analogous structure and resources for the New Zealand European. While we cannot reverse a multicultural society, we can reshape it along new directions: not that of ‘one people’, which is the path of the melting-pot, or of the types of separatism that lead to animosity and rivalry, but one of symbiosis where ethnicities are self-sustaining. Ultimately, nothing can be accomplished until a new financial system is established, and thereafter the vision is cleared to see what can be achieved.

Where the positions stand are:

  1. Maori radicals whose ethnonationalism extends beyond their own ethnos: Brown supremacy.
  2. Liberals who believe in the hegemony of Late Western liberal-democracy: globlisation.
  3. Dissident-Rightists (including Traditonalists and Identitarians) who advocate self-reliance.

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