Accounts of New Zealand's relations with southern Africa have often focused on the protest movement over sports contacts with South Africa. At the centre of such accounts are the protest movement's heroic efforts to challenge and eventually transform mainstream New Zealand thinking on South African issues, particularly on the ethics of playing South African 'representative' teams for which most (i.e. non-white) South Africans could not be selected. It is a story of good and evil, or at least virtue and folly, in which evil and folly are vanquished. This is partly, and naturally, because most accounts to date have been written by participants, and the protestors have been more articulate about the issue than their adversaries. And it was the protest movement that initiated the often acrimonious debate about relations with South Africa over the three decades from the late 1950s.
When we turn to foreign policy, the picture is necessarily different. Both the second and third Labour governments faced tricky moments over southern African issues, as they attempted to negotiate between majority public opinion on the one hand, and the combined forces of minority public opinion and majority international opinion on the other. And there are some things to say about Labour's internationalism once the southern Africa issue is resolved. But by and large the Labour Party and even the protest movement stayed within the framework of 'loyal' dissent, loyal in this instance to the principles of the multiracial Commonwealth, the evolution of which we discussed in Chapters 4 and 6.
It was interests, both of the kinship and the sporting kind, which kept New Zealand in close, and increasingly controversial, association with the white communities of southern Africa. In the first episode we explore, the No Maori No Tour debate of 1959-60, this controversy was played out primarily within the framework of the independent foreign policy--it entailed domestic ideological debate with limited, certainly not immediate, foreign policy implications. But in 1961 South Africa left the Commonwealth, and ties with white Africa became an increasingly controversial element in foreign relations. For National governments there were two aspects to this, aspects which replicated the pattern we identified in analysing the impact of the Vietnam War: on the one hand, a realist analysis of New Zealand's place in the world and its independence; and on the other, a nationalist response and a nationalist