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Add your signature to this open letter to change toxic rugby culture in New Zealand

Yesterday, NZ Rugby held a press conference in relation to the Chiefs scandal, wherein they barely said anything at all. Today, the Human Rights Commission invites you to add your name to a letter calling for a change New Zealand rugby culture. 

The NZ Human Rights Commission has this afternoon published an open letter to NZ Rugby, urging the national administrator to take up offers of support and expertise in relation to its internal culture.

The open letter follows the outcome of the internal NZ Rugby investigation, into an incident involving a woman named Scarlette and unidentified members of the Chiefs rugby team. The letter has already been signed by a number of prominent New Zealand women whose organisations collectively represent thousands of New Zealanders.

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 27: The Chiefs team during a moment's silence before kickoff as a mark of respect for the Fiji cyclone victims, the 185 lives lost in the Christchurch earthquake five years ago, and Crusaders board member Nick Patterson, who died earlier in February, prior to the round one Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Chiefs at AMI Stadium on February 27, 2016 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue explains the thinking behind the letter:

“The internal investigation into the incident involving Scarlette and members of the Chiefs rugby team has highlighted to all New Zealanders that NZ Rugby’s judiciary process is not appropriate for dealing with issues of integrity, mana, respect and basic personal rights.

“NZ Rugby has previously refused to take up offers of support and expertise from external parties with these sorts of investigations. Until they do, these investigations will continue to produce the exact same results.

“The open letter is about letting NZ Rugby know that enough is enough and we want them to take us up on our offer to support them through this process. As much as New Zealanders love rugby – we need New Zealanders to respect women.”

The open letter, which can be signed here, reads:

Dear New Zealand Rugby management and board members,

Right now, thousands of New Zealanders are questioning the culture of our country’s favourite sport and those in charge of it.

We are writing to you publicly in the hope that you will listen to our calls for you to act with courage.

The internal investigation into an incident involving a woman called Scarlette and members of the Chiefs rugby team has highlighted to all New Zealanders that NZ Rugby’s judiciary process is not appropriate for dealing with issues of integrity, mana, respect and basic personal rights.

We are offering our expertise, experience and support. Louise Nicholas has been working alongside NZ Police to successfully enhance their internal culture for some time now. We encourage you to do the same. Dr Jackie Blue offered to assist a month ago and this offer still stands.

Rugby is like a religion in New Zealand, with players worshipped by young kiwis throughout the country. NZ Rugby could not operate without thousands of women volunteers and players in clubs and towns across the country: we must address the culture that exists from the top down and set the right example, particularly for our young New Zealanders.

Now is the time for you and those involved in the incident with Scarlette to be courageous and to take personal leadership on an issue that we can all work on addressing together.

As much as New Zealanders love rugby – we need New Zealanders to respect women.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Signed by,

Dr Jackie Blue, EEO Commissioner

Louise Nicholas, Sexual Violence Survivors Advocate

Rae Duff, National President, National Council of Women of New Zealand

Prue Kapua, National President, Maori Women’s Welfare League

Barbara Williams, National Council of Women

Dr Kim McGregor QSO , Director of Tiaki Consultants

Caren Rangi, National President, P.A.C.I.F.I.C.A (Pacifica Allied (Women’s) Council Inspires Faith in Ideals Concerning All) Inc

Dame Susan Devoy, Race Relations Commissioner

Nive Sharat Chandran, Co President YWCA of Aotearoa New Zealand

Sina Wendt-Moore, Co President, YWCA of Aotearoa New Zealand

Monica Briggs, CEO, YWCA Auckland

Karen Johansen, Indigenous Rights Commissioner

Jan Logie, Member of Parliament

Ruth Dyson, Member of Parliament

Tracey Martin, Member of Parliament

Catriona McClennan, Barrister and Social Justice Advocate

Leonie Morris, Auckland Women’s Centre

Eileen Brown, Council of Trade Unions

Sue Kedgley, UN Women

Dr Janette Irvine, General Practitioner

Vicky Mee, Business and Professional Women

Jane Drumm, Shine

Erin Polaczuk, PSA

Deborah McKenzie, Inner City Women

Christine King, President, Pacific Women

Denise Ritchie, Stop Demand

Add your signature here.

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