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Political Game, A (ATOM Study Guide)

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A political game is a TVNZ produced historical documentary that traces the passion and politics associated with the long-standing rugby rivalry between New Zealand and South Africa. Through revealing this often-dramatic history, students will gain valuable insight into the connections between sport, politics, national identities and race. Students will also gain a clear understanding that politics is inextricably linked with high profile sport.

The documentary begins by revealing the raw emotion displayed by the 1996 All Blacks after their first ever test series win in South Africa, and suggests that to understand this emotion one needs to examine the complex social history of this sporting rivalry. The documentary illustrates how rugby within New Zealand and South Africa, in the early 1900s, played a pivotal role in the development of each countries' national identity and how each country believed that they were the rugby world champions. These competing beliefs underpinned the long-standing rugby rivalry between South Africa and New Zealand. Deeply intertwined within this sporting history, however, has been South Africa's history of institutionalised racism and the various and changing reactions to this racism displayed by the New Zealand Rugby Football Union, New Zealand Governments and New Zealanders ever since the first tour in 1921. The tensions associated with New Zealand's sporting contacts with South Africa climaxed during the Springbok tour of 1981 with widespread anti-racist protests that polarised the nation. These protests were on such grand scale that they helped change the social fabric of New Zealand and played a role in instigating democratic reform within South Africa.

The purpose of this guide is to make relevant links to the Social Studies and Health and Physical Education curricula and their respective Achievement Standards.


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