Open letter about NZ rugby – sent to the NZRU

I sent this letter to the NZ Rugby Union Board 24th April 2019. The topic line said to the Rugby Union “Please forward to the Board Chair (Brent) and Crusaders (Grant) and all board members”

To Brent Impey, Grant Jarrold and your boards,

This is an open letter to you and other rugby fans.

I am 73-year-old All Blacks, Canterbury and Crusaders fan. I’ve been a one-eyed Cantabrian since I began, as a child, listening to the games on the radio and/or standing on the embankment at Lancaster Park with my Dad. I also expected my younger son to play for Canterbury – he played for Shirley, and once, in a junior team, played for Canterbury. Sadly, his coach-father died when he was 12 and then, at 15, a motorbike accident saw his leg being ripped off at the groin – killing his dreams and expectations of a rugby future.

The reason I’m writing is that I want to have my say as I’ve not signed any petition or been included in any poll. I also believe a letter is of more value than a signature.

I want the name ‘Crusaders’ to change. I’m glad the extras have been stopped and I hope the horse and knights will never return – in any form. I was disturbed, no – actually I was horrified – when the team was named in the mid-90s but put it down to ignorance of history and assumed most people/fans would be ignorant too.

That passive acceptance on my part changed in an instant when the white supremacist terrorist killed Muslims in my home city. (I live in Wellington now but you can take the girl out of the city but not the city out of the girl).

You don’t need a history lesson from me, others more qualified will have advised you. I also don’t believe a nation-wide poll should drive your decision either. Just do the right thing for all of us – a decision you will be able to capitalise on, as proof of a team of honourable, inclusive, diverse, people.

Please do not consult the local mosques unless the first question is – do you want to have a say about a name change? You would just be setting them up for more vitriol when you change the name – people not wanting a name change will blame them entirely.

Without a name change, this topic will come up every year. Will fans like me be able to wear our jerseys with pride? Not really. We will still love our team no matter its name or rankings but keeping the name and branding will cause issues for us fans too. If we can’t wear our red and black with pride, I suspect many will lose interest.

Please consider these points when you vote about the name change . . .  long before the new season starts, so we, and you, can buy the new red and black kit!

I look forward to hearing from you.

Heather Hapeta

Here’s their bounced back reply: 24th April – I’ve received nothing more.

Kia ora,

Thanks for contacting New Zealand Rugby.

We greatly appreciate you taking the time to email us, we’ll do our best to respond to you as soon as possible, however we are currently experiencing a high volume of emails and may require an extra few days.

If your email is about All Blacks schedule, public appearances, tickets or for signed memorabilia for charity, please go to http://www.allblacks.com/Contact

For all other questions and queries, we’ll come back to you as soon  as possible.

Nga Mihi

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