Sponsor to Hurricanes: Boot racist board member

A lead sponsor for the Hurricanes is calling for the sacking of a board member whose comments about the percentage of Māori of sporting tech entrepreneur Sir Ian Taylor have been labelled as racist.

Jamie Williams, the chief executive of Kāpura, a hospitality business in Pōneke, told NZME he's reached out to Hurricanes management and is calling on them to act.

"We obviously let them know we didn't think it was the right alignment for the Hurricanes,"

"That leads to pressure on us supporting our business and asking if we're going to carry on sponsoring the Hurricanes. If you have someone on your waka that's not singing to the same tune, there's got to be some action.” Williams said.

Wellington businessman and Hurricanes director Troy Bowker​ lashed out against Sir Taylor after he argued Māori should be a decision-maker in changing the country’s name from New Zealand to Aotearoa.

“If we are going to have a debate about naming rights, let's do it fully informed about the amazing feat of the Pacific voyagers who named the whenua where they settled,” Taylor said.

The comment spurred a fiery response from Bowker.

'Dump Bowker'

“Another example of European New Zealanders not being proud of their own ancestors and sucking up to the left Māori loving agenda. FFS. Wake up NZ,” he wrote.

“What percentage Māori are you?” he asked Taylor.

The Hurricanes were quick to distance the team from Bowker’s comments.

“The Hurricanes do not support the remarks in question," the franchise said in a statement.  "As a part-owner of the Hurricanes, Troy is entitled to a director’s role and, consequently, we are not in a position to control his opinions when he speaks and represents himself or his businesses outside of rugby."

Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara also labelled Bowker’s comments "racist and insulting".

Kāpura has 35 venues across Wellington and more than 800 staff. Williams told NZME the only solution appears to be Bowker being removed from the team's board.

"The first step is to probably try to get him off the board, which I know a lot of people have been calling for.

"I think they know it; it's just how quickly they can do it,” he said.