School investigating allegation of racist remarks from supporters at rugby match

Two Wellington high schools are in discussions after an allegation that racist remarks were made by supporters during a rugby match.  (File photo).

Dominico Zapata/Stuff

Two Wellington high schools are in discussions after an allegation that racist remarks were made by supporters during a rugby match. (File photo).

A Kāpiti Coast high school is investigating a claim its supporters made racist comments to Porirua rugby players during a game.

Paraparaumu College principal Craig Steed said he was aware of an allegation made via social media about behavior at a match against Bishop Viard College last weekend.

The college had been in communication with Bishop Viard and they were working with their players, coaches and supporters to clarify what happened, he said.

“Paraparaumu College is a caring community of great learners and one of our core values ​​is respect. It is important for us that we demonstrate this in all aspects of school life, from in the classroom to on the sports field,” Steed said.

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“We also promote the importance of these values ​​to our school community and expect spectators and supporters to live by these at school events.”

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Bishop Viard College principal Christopher Theobald declined to comment on the matter.

Bryan Dickinson, the executive director of College Sport Wellington (CSW), said it was aware of discussions on social media about the remarks, but had not received any complaints.

“The normal process is for complaints to be laid through/by the schools, in this case the Bishop Viard and Paraparaumu College sports directors and/or principals. We then follow the complaints process laid out in our bylaws,” he said.

“Both schools are in touch with each other and finding out a few more facts before confirming whether they want CSW to get involved. This is a process well understood by our schools and ensures natural justice for all parties.”

CSW’s code of conduct states the principal will and through their delegate ensure that no one associated with a school may act in a way that is likely to bring school sport into disrepute, including students, staff, team officials and spectators, and any person associated with school sport should ensure students have the right to a safe, positive environment.

The code of conduct for parents and spectators states they must recognize good play by either team and never ridicule an individual player in either team and display self-control on the side-line.

KIRK HARGREAVES/The Press

Peni Manumanuniliwa, a Fijian who plays club rugby for Southbridge in Canterbury, says he has cried after being called racist names during games. (video first published in May 2015)

In Christchurch in 2016, Waihora rugby player Bronson Munro was handed a 46-week suspension after racially abusing Fijian rugby player Peni Manumanuniliwa.

In a statement at the time Manumanuniliwa said all he wanted was for his voice to be heard and for something to be done about racial abuse on the playing field.

“I want this not only for myself but for every player in New Zealand. In the game I enjoy, we all want to be treated with respect,” he said.

A Christ’s College student was also stood down in the same year for using a racial slur against a St Thomas of Canterbury College student during a game.

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