Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: When a riot went on

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    don’t forget this was only 3 years after the ’81 tour, lots of people had recently faced down the police in the streets (and vice versa)

    I think the hangover of the tour, its symbols and the way it fed into police practice and public perceptions all contributed, for sure.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Jan Farr,

    Well thank goodness for you, Russell - that's a great piece of history recorded there! I was living in Auckland at the time and knew about it, of course - but your article has filled in a lot of gaps.

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 395 posts Report

  • Dave Waugh, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    so the vandals took the jandals...

    But could they handle it?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 98 posts Report

  • BenWilson, in reply to Dave Waugh,

    But could they handle it?

    You can't vandal the truth!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to BenWilson,

    Better than doing a flip-flop?

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report

  • Myles Thomas,

    I was in the crowd and I can see myself a couple of times in those crowd shots. I was 14 and excited to be allowed out with friends. I had a plan to meet Dad at the information centre at 8. Herbs were awesome in the sun, it felt weird to be dancing to 'nuclear waste is a comin down...' with a whole lot of confetti raining down on us. But hey, shit was weird back then.

    Don't remember the Mockers sorry.

    Then DD Smash came on but the power cut out which got us a bit restless. All of a sudden a quart beer bottle smashed at my feet. Shit, how did that get there? None of us had booze nor anyone around us. We figured it had been thrown by some of the scary munters up the back. It had been full of beer too. Oh well.

    It's funny but back then odd shit happened and we just accepted it. It was like I had expectations of lawlessness and munterisms that wouldn't happen today. Maybe I'm just older or was it something to do with being from West Auckland.

    We waited and clapped for DD Smash. Someone came out to calm down the crowd or the concert would be cancelled. That got us riled up but the band played on. Dave Dobyn said something to the hooligans at the back to calm down or the pigs will shut it all down. And shortly after he announced that the show was finished. He certainly was strong in his words but the truth was the fault lay with cops for closing down the party. What did they expect would happen? That everyone would head home quietly. Idiots vs hooligans.

    Anyway, our group decided to get the hell out of there. We ran to the car park behind the Wellesley Street Post Office heading to Wellesley st. But it was a no exit and everyone had to jump over 8 foot high verticle bars set into the ground (awesome urban planning still there to this day). Thankfully a helpful adult gave my girlfriends and then me and my boyfriends a lift over. Then I had to track down Dad. A phone call home and we arranged to meet him at the same place an hour of two later.

    It turned out Dad had had an adventure too. Bang on 8 the first rubbish bin hit the iconic plate glass of the Information Centre. He was right there, he saw the guy do it. He hung around waiting for me and then dispersed to safety. Finally we met up amid the carnage of Aotea Square. I was breathless with excitement.

    Walking back to the car up Wellesley street the lights were out on Albert st and a traffic cop was directing traffic, the young man in front of me passing the cop's motorbike swiped his gloves off the seat. No-one blinked an eyelid.

    Little things were so different back then; everyone hated the cops; the cops were arseholes to everyone except Nats, business people and farmers; casual drunken threatening behaviour was everywhere, men in singlets looked at you funny, the tv regularly played the fault graphic with a kiwi tripping on the power cord, traffic cops directed traffic at lights with their nice white gloves...

    Thank god that part of NZ is over.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2011 • 130 posts Report

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    polar i sing...

    Better than doing a flip-flop?

    pop thongs for the revolution...?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report

  • John Madden, in reply to Myles Thomas,

    Some nice vignettes of the era. For someone like me, born in 1951, it was all just a continuation of "idiots versus hooligans" from the '60s. The young copper in 1969 who told me not to call him sir "in New Zealand we call each other mate" was not so civil in the 70s when my hair had 5 years uncut growth.
    I do like your "idiots versus hooligans", I'll save it for my book. Ha!

    United Kingdom • Since Mar 2012 • 10 posts Report

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I don’t think the riot was ever going to be what destabilised that government

    No. It was destabilised right from the outset.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report

  • TracyMac, in reply to Myles Thomas,

    Thank god that part of NZ is over.

    Oh yeah. Never really got any 80s nostalgia that goes around periodically, except for some (certainly not all or even most) of the music.

    This extends to those who get all nostalgic about demos, and the relative lack of people on streets these days - things were so shit in so many ways back then that there was a lot more impetus to get on those streets.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report

  • Martin Brown, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    In today's Canvas, DD says it cost him $12000 to defend that nonsense. Which back then was real money.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2013 • 137 posts Report

  • Islander, in reply to Martin Brown,

    Never really got any 80s nostalgia that goes around periodically,

    I HATED the 1980s -aside from Muldoon & the Labour Party reneging on it’s roots-
    it was just a bloody ugly time…
    it was also the time Maori started the long journey to reclaiming our place – ae! Even in the South!

    I talk with my nieces & nephews these days and they say “Nah – cant’ve been like that” so I send them to my mother – for some of them, their great grandmother to learn just how it was, in 1917 & before-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    I have another weird memory from 1984, though I can't remember whether before or after. I went to Queen St to see Supergirl (the only reason I know it was 1984...). When I came out of the film, half of Queen St was cordoned off due to a bomb threat. I remember seeing a squad of police marching down the street outside the Civic.
    Later that afternoon the Auckland Star put out an early edition with photos of the police, and I think some wild theorising about who might be behind the bomb threat. But by the second edition, as far as I recall, it got only a few inches, and there was little or nothing about it on the TV news that night. I couldn't understand. At 13, the sight of police marching in an otherwise empty street was apocalyptic and shocking, and I expected it to be a huge deal, but then... nothing.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 585 posts Report

  • Neville Lynch, in reply to peter mclennan,

    No, he meant Straw Dogs, a movie about a riot. And by the way, Michael Dow was also one of two owners of Record Warehouse at the time of this quote.

    Waitakere, Auckland • Since Jun 2013 • 1 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Neville Lynch,

    No, he meant Straw Dogs, a movie about a riot. And by the way, Michael Dow was also one of two owners of Record Warehouse at the time of this quote.

    Thanks, Neville. No one else has pointed that out. I'll add that to the story.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace,

    At that same time in the world of feminist struggle there were huge meetings going on in support of NZ signing up to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. The new Labour government set up the Ministry of Women's Affairs and promised to sign CEDAW, and unbelievably there was huge opposition to both, resulting in large angry meetings all over NZ. Minister Anne Hercus was physically attacked at one point, which had the effect of making Lange come out in support of both CEDAW and MoWA, both of which he had been previously luke warm about.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Neville Lynch,

    Straw Dogs, a movie about a riot

    How is Straw Dogs a movie about a riot? A lynching for sure, but a riot?

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report

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