This hero of the anti-racist protest movement (and so much more) has died.
Farewell indeed to Tom Newnham whose book By Batons and Barbed Wire, about the 1981 Springbok Tour and the popular social uprising that disrupted it — found its way into many homes, including mine. He was an activist in more ways than that. A lion.
That ‘Rugby Tour’ and the political and social ructions it provoked, stirred our conscience as a nation — and revealed the nasty side (and the heroic side) of many people … from the powerful to the humble.
My friend and fellow photographer (I’m not worthy to wipe the dust off his UV filters!) John Miller took this shot of Tom doing good work …
This comment, from John’s Facebook wall, says a lot which is true:
Mihirawhiti Searancke Really Tom and others like him were the Julian Assange‘s of then along with Owen Wilkes and other’s who worked tirelessly on issues that gave us the strength to ask questions of a then very Anglosaxon male outfit. RIP Tom and say hello to Owen and Sid, Hana and all those other greenies, anti nukes, Maori rights supporters.
Yes, Well said. Thank you.
Along with Merita Mita, whose film Patu! recorded the intensity of the anti-Tour protests. Tom’s efforts to help motivate and organise — and give voice to — the courage of ordinary New Zealanders motivated by outrage at social injustice was his life’s work.
(Tom’s NZPA Obituary)