Turbulent '70s usher in decade of protest

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 July, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 24 July, 1998, 12:00am

I was at university in the 1970s, followed by the start of my teaching career in Southland on South Island, and what New Zealanders call the Great Overseas Experience.

This was a decade of protest. We marched against New Zealand's involvement in Vietnam and supported the Maori Land March, which sought redress for past grievances.

In 1975 Kiwi John Walker became the first man to break the four minutes, 50 seconds mile then went on to win the 1500 metres at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

The Africans boycotted the games because of New Zealand's links with apartheid South Africa.

In 1977 I was working on a kibbutz in Israel, when Egyptian President Anwar Sadat arrived in Jerusalem. He opened dialogue in an attempt to start the peace process.

To be there at that time was a brush with the complex history of the Middle East.

Returning to New Zealand, at the end of the decade, we were stunned by the Air New Zealand crash into Mt Erebus.

I will tell you about the importance of Antarctica to New Zealand, and indeed the world, in a future column.