17 Dec 2010

Human rights campaigner Tom Newnham dies

10:55 am on 17 December 2010

Tom Newnham, a champion of racial equality and human rights, has died in Auckland. He was 84.

Once described by Truth newspaper as the most hated man in New Zealand, his campaigning also contributed to the development of the Citizens Advice Bureaux, a nuclear-free New Zealand and prison reform.

His public involvement with race relations began in 1960 while he was teaching on the East Cape and he threw his weight behind a petition against the All Blacks going to South Africa without Maori players.

Later, he joined the Citizens Association for Racial Equality and served as its secretary for seven years.

In 1981, during the Springbok rugby tour of New Zealand he was arrested seven times.

Mr Newnham was awarded the Queen's Service Order in 1988.

He had suffered from Alzheimer's disease and lung cancer in later years.