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.
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.
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