Anti-Springbok Tour protesters remember their march 40 years on

Forty years ago, violent clashes played out across Hamilton as thousands of anti-Springbok Tour protesters marched towards Rugby Park.

The 1981 tour had a lasting impact on New Zealand and decades later some protesters are still fighting for change.

The 1981 Springbok Tour divided New Zealand like never before. When protesters stormed Hamilton’s Rugby Park, South Africa's apartheid regime and the staunch opposition to it was broadcast to the world.

The match between the Springboks and Waikato was abandoned before the players had made it onto the pitch.

Forty years on, the feeling of anger and chaos couldn’t be more different as more than 100 former protestors walked towards what's now FMG Stadium - the same path they walked on that monumental day.

"This a very peaceful and totally different scenario to when we marched about 40 years ago," says Māori rights campaigner Angeline Greensill.

The tour sparked fierce debate about racism across the nation from the Beehive to the breakfast table.

The unrest seen in more than 28 Kiwi cities and towns was likened to a civil war. John Minto organised it all and remembers the Hamilton rally like it was yesterday.

"It was Hamilton that had the impact, simply because we were able to get on and stop a game," he says.

Sunday's march in Hamilton is one of many taking place nationwide over the next seven weeks.

Remembering a pivotal moment in our history - a moment that’s left a defining imprint on this country.

"This whole debate here spurred a much deeper debate about racism in our own country," Minto says.

But many here today believe there’s still some way to go.

"There is still racism in the structures and that. Otherwise you wouldn’t have such huge gaps in healthcare, and more people that are Māori in prison than anyone else," Greensill says.

She’s hopeful that fight is slowly being won, leaving brutal scenes seen during the Tour protests firmly in the history books.