The author of a new book on the history of Maori rugby, Malcolm Mulholland, found while researching Beneath the Maori Moon that it was still a burning issue for some whanau and former players.
He wrote to the NZRU last year inviting
it to apologise, but rugby's governing body has refused.
The NZRFU as the guardians of New Zealand rugby have a lot to be proud of in the role that rugby has played in race relations in New Zealand, with great players like George Nepia and JB Smith being national heroes for Maori and Pakeha alike. But their decision send representative teams to South Africa while not selecting these two superstars, amongst others, for purely racial reasons was a disgrace, as was their decision to not schedule a game between the Springboks and a Maori team in 1937 following the fallout from the infamous telegram sent by a white South African journalist after the Springboks played a Maori team on their first tour here in 1921:
“Thousands Europeans frantically cheering on band of coloured men to defeat members of own race was too much for springboks who frankly disgusted”To not issue an apology now effectively aligns the current NZRFU with those regrettable decisions from the past. How easy an apology would have been; how silly to spurn the opportunity.