New Zealand Rugby have released a statement saying they do not support recent comments made by Tory Bowker as pressure continues to mount on the Hurricanes co-owner.
NZR CEO Mark Robinson released a statement this afternoon on Bowker's comments after the animation entrepreneur said he stood by comments accusing Sir Ian Taylor of “sucking up to the left Māori-loving agenda”. Bowker's accusation came over a picture saying NZ’s Olympic success on the water was in their DNA.
"The comments made by Troy Bowker are not supported by New Zealand Rugby in any way and are not reflective of the values of our organisation and the aspiration we have for our game across the country," Robinson said.
"Although we have no jurisdiction over the makeup of our Super Rugby club boards, we are in dialogue with the Hurricanes to provide support as required."
Bowker slammed a LinkedIn post by Sir Ian which came in response to National leader Judith Collins’ suggestion to have a referendum on the name of the country.
“What a load of absolute nonsense! Another example of European NZers not being proud of their own ancestors and sucking up to the left Māori loving agenda. FFS. Wake up NZ,” he wrote.
Bowker and Taylor continued the exchange in the comments with the Hurricanes part-owner at one point asking the animation entrepreneur: “what percentage Maori are you?”
“Please show some pride and respect for the achievements of your own ancestors like the Maori do. Worshipping Maori like you are doing is disrespectful to your other ancestors,” he continued.
Robinson's comments this afternoon come after Hurricanes veteran TJ Perenara also spoke out on the situation this morning, saying Bowker's comments contained "underlying racism" and were "insulting".
"I’ve begun conversations with other players and management, and expect these conversations to continue over the coming days," Perenara wrote on Twitter.
"As with other franchises, Hurricanes players past and present have come from a range of different backgrounds. Our collective identities have long provided us with a source of strength and pride.
"The mental, emotional, and cultural safety of our players is crucial and needs to be assured. Our supporters deserve better and should be able to back us without feeling conflicted.
"Right now I can’t see how these things can happen if the status quo is maintained, and am seeking answers as to what the next steps are."