Hard News by Russell Brown


When a riot went on

Sometimes as a journalist, you end up in the right (or wrong) place at the right time and get to tell a story just because you were there. That was the case for me on December 7, 1984, the day of the Queen Street riot -- the country's worst episode of civil disturbance since the 1930s.

The reporting I did for Rip It Up magazine read pretty well this week when I had occasion to revisit it for a story on the riots to tie in with Dave Dobbyn's induction into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame next week. That story is here, along with with some pretty amazing, long-unseen, photographs and a transcript of the remarkable tape recording at the centre of the story.

I guess there's a sense in which Dave might have mixed feelings about the episode being brought up, but there's also a full profile of him on the way, and it was good to be able to clear up exactly what his role in events was -- and more importantly, wasn't.

I think it's also worth knowing about the way that the local music business itself was almost swallowed up in the moral panic that followed the riot. It was a strange, strange time.

I've posted scans of the original RIU pages in comments for this post, in case they're of interested. But for now, please do and read the Audioculture article and come back here if you have anything to to say.

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