Extract from interview with Claire Hall, 21 March 2010
Reproduced with permission of Bruce Goodall
Bruce Goodall joined the Police force on his return from Vietnam. In this clip, he talks about attending an anti-Vietnam War demonstration that turned into a major riot during US vice-president Spiro Agnew’s 1970 visit to New Zealand.
Initially I didn’t really think much of it. I mean I was just a cop and…
And that was when you were on the beat was it, in Auckland?
Basically I was in I Cars and all that sort of stuff, Incident Cars. I don’t think it really affected me that much, except for that one time when we set things up. That was during the Spiro Agnew demonstration. So all the boys said to me, ‘Wear your ribbons’. And I said, ‘No I don’t want to.’ They said ‘Wear your ribbons because it’s an anti-Vietnam War demonstration and if you wear your ribbons, they’ll know what they are. And we’ll all hang around you because that’s where the action’s going to be, you see?’ So we went up there and we were all interlocking arms, holding these bastards back, and the next thing, my helmet is smashed down right over my ears. Somebody hit me with a placard, with wood and it pushed the helmet right down over my ears and I couldn’t get it off. So I just started swinging and I was hitting anything…going like a windmill. Bang! Bang! And just hitting, hitting anything. Because all the other guys were trying to get to the people that had assaulted me. And it just started from there – it turned into a major riot. At the end of it the guys (said) ‘Oh that was a real gas’ you know? They didn’t like them. Shadbolt and all that lot. But the problem was that it escalated, in that all the traffic cops and everybody else started getting into it as well, you know. So I felt used at that point (laughs).
Vietnam War Oral History Project, Manatu Taonga Ministry for Culture & Heritage