Crusaders' name change discussions 'a responsible action', says Grant Robertson

Source: 1News

Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson says that conversations around a potential name change for the Crusaders is appropriate, in the wake of last week's Christchurch attacks.

After a gunman opened fire on two separate Christchurch mosques, leaving 50 dead and dozens injured, Crusaders chief executive Colin Mansbridge says that the organisation are listening to feedback over a change of name for one of New Zealand's most decorated sporting sides.

A reference to the medieval Crusades from Christians against Muslims between 1095 and 1492, the name 'Crusaders' could be taken as highly offensive and inappropriate to a community reeling from such a devastating attack, it has been suggested. 

Speaking before a Labour caucus meeting today though, Mr Robertson said he supports any discussions around changing the Crusaders' name.

"I'm aware of the conversations that they're now having with - in particular - the Muslim community in Christchurch," Mr Robertson says.

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"I think that's appropriate, clearly this is a big issue in Canterbury.

"The Crusaders is a well-established name and brand, but I think it's a responsible action to undertake those conversations now."

Mr Robertson didn't want to say where he stands on the issue, unwilling to comment either way on the future of the Crusaders' name.

"I'm not going to express opinion on that today. It's more important that conversation happens with the Muslim community in Christchurch, and the wider Canterbury community. Then I'll take some soundings after that."