Crusaders name ‘No longer tenable’

I have always not like the name ‘Crusaders’ for a modern sports team. I never thought it appropriate.neither would names like Mongols or Huns or Kmer Rouge.

Now, in the wake of the Christchurch mosque attacks, the team business owners say that the name is ‘no longer tenable’.

It’s probably not practical to change the name this season, but it should be replaced by next year.

ODT:  ‘No longer tenable’: NZR boss says Crusaders set for change

The Crusaders have announced that they will be considering a change to their name and branding following the Christchurch terrorist attacks on 15 March – and that the status quo is ‘no longer tenable’.

The Christchurch-based Super Rugby franchise announced today that they will engage independent research company, Research First, to seek feedback and provide recommendations on the Crusaders team name and brand.

Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge said they are committed to taking the process seriously and doing the right thing.

“This is an event that rocked our community and brought some important issues to the fore,” Mansbridge said. “One of the contentious issues that has been brought up in the aftermath of the Christchurch attacks is the name of our rugby team – the Crusaders.

“Because of our desire to be the best we can be and to support our community, we are treating the question around the appropriateness of our brand extremely seriously.

We are committed to undertaking a thorough process, taking into account all relevant opinions and, most importantly, we are committed to doing the right thing.”

When the first year of Super Rugby kicked off in 1996, the Crusaders title was chosen for the side representing the provincial unions from the top half of the South Island and the brand was built on a stylised version of medieval England, in a nod to the English heritage of Christchurch.

I think it was poorly chosen, and should go.

Leave a comment


  1. Kitty Catkin

     /  3rd April 2019

    Crusaders, lower case, has a meaning that Khmer Rouge, Mongol and Hun don’t have. They can only be proper names.

    I had no idea that the Crusaders had the horses and the rest.

    The silly costumes will be no loss; the cloth meant to look like chain mail is an embarrassment, flapping around in that ridiculous way.

    Why not change it to Cruisers ?

    • Ray

       /  3rd April 2019

      How about Saracens, no complaints after 911 so it’s ok.
      Presently used by an English team and Rangioria.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  4th April 2019

        I don’t know very many rugby teams !

        But I do think that the Crusaders look right plonkers with that silly castle and the printed chain mail. Drop all that and keep the name.

        Saracens doesn’t immediately bring Muslims to mind; I’d like to know how many people know who they were. I wouldn’t expect the US to have heard of Rangiora, never mind its rugby team.

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  3rd April 2019

    The terrorist act was not foreseeable at the time it was chosen and the name reflected Christchurch’s historic buildings as well as suggesting a courageous and ambitious mission. I think choosing it then was entirely reasonable as is changing it now.

    It has been an extremely successful and honorable franchise and I hope it continues to be so.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  3rd April 2019

      I’d certainly drop the costumes and the castle that looks like a set for a school play.

      I can’t see any connection with historic buildings.

      The original crusaders may have started off as courageous and ambitious, but they became genocidal in many cases. I grew up with the idea that it was a fair fight, but it wasn’t always one.

  3. Tom Hunter

     /  3rd April 2019

    Since I’ve never liked any Canterbury team due to the extreme one-eyed nature of their fans, I’m looking forward with much glee to the alternative names, though none can be as sadly appropriate as the “Blues”.

    However, this is a pathetic outcome of a combination of poor historical education and the propaganda of the last thirty years which has sought to cast the Crusades as something so evil we can’t mention the name – like other things that created Western Civilisation but involved much evil amidst the good. And yes, given that the Crusades at least started out as an effort to recover from Islamic invaders, lands that had been Christian for hundreds of years, there was some good there.

    And if we’re going to talk about how some members of New Zealand find the name “offensive”, I would note that the Crusaders also smashed up Orthodox Slavs on their way to the ME, but I’ve seen no sign that the latter find the name offensive.

    I suppose that this also means that the following statement now casts General Eisenhower in an equally shameful light:

    Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months…

    You see at that time, it was a given that the Crusades had done more good than evil – by preserving Western civilisation. Sad to see it’s been given the old 1984 treatment.

    … neither would names like Mongols or Huns or Kmer Rouge.
    The Khmer Rouge and the Crusades? Of course. That’s an entirely accurate and wet comparison. /sarc off

    With regard to the Mongols I think you’ll find that millions of their descendents are quite proud of Ghengis Kahn among others. No cultural or historical shame there. Similarly for other ethnic and cultural groups around the world, including possibly even the descendents of the Huns, Visigoths and Vandals.

    One last thing: the name of this team had precisely nothing to do with an Australian psychopath deciding to massacre people – but changing the name is a strange confession that it somehow did. Cultural cringe does not get any better than that.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  3rd April 2019

      While it had nothing to do with either the motivation or the event it does have an historic parallel with killing Muslims and driving them out of invaded lands. In the circumstances that is worth softening.

      • Gezza

         /  3rd April 2019

        I agree with what you have posted so far. A change would be best. I could go on at length about why, & recognising that crusade has evolved into wider virtuous & non-militant definitions, but it would make not a whit of difference to those who want to sanitise all the crusades & / or especially to give the fingers to our Muslims.

        Calling a Muslim team the Jihadists here would go down like a brick as being in such bad taste.

        The name is not what matters. It’s the team. And their supporters. A name change shouldn’t change either of those. I see as just another team challenge & look forward to what alternatives they come up with.

  4. Tom Hunter

     /  3rd April 2019

    The Canterbury Infidels

    There you go. It has a nice ring to it, should not be “offensive” to anybody, and also includes that element of mockery so precious to our NZ culture.

  5. Corky

     /  3rd April 2019

    Disgusting decision in my opinion – on many levels. Do we have no respect for our history? That would include Maori by dint of their European blood?

    I listened to a mouth piece on the news say he had consulted with the Muslim community who where much too polite to proffer an opinion, and had left any decision to the Crusaders.

    I would like to ask how many of the Muslim community actually knew who the Crusaders were..and more importantly, who the Crusaders rugby team is? Football is their game.

    If the shootings hadn’t occurred would we be having this discussion?

    The news item I watched finished with an Asian man giving his opinion..followed by a Muslim advocate giving his..and Iwi will be consulted.

    If you have half a brain, you have to see the funny side of Western culture in full decline.


    • Duker

       /  3rd April 2019

      Wrong again corky. Before the home matches they would have knights on horseback wearing medieval style armour, swinging swords and both knights and horses with large CROSSES.
      How dare you ask ‘if the Muslim community know who the crusaders rugby franchise are’
      The made use of imagery of the Christian crusades against the muslims…would you like it they dressed as Roman soldiers and recalled the times they destroyed Jewish temples….you know …as being a rugby team means it’s ok?

      • Tom Hunter

         /  3rd April 2019

        Wouldn’t worry me in the least, any more than having some Sassenach dressed up like William Longshanks. All a long time ago.

        And that’s the whole point here: NZ culture, Western culture, has moved foward when people have been able to move beyond historic grudges. Cultures that are determined to carry them end up like the the Protestant-Catholic groups in Northern Ireland, or the Serbs and Croats.

      • Corky

         /  3rd April 2019

        ”How dare you ask ‘if the Muslim community know who the crusaders rugby franchise are’”

        Don’t emote. It’s a fair question to ask. Until 9/11 I had no concept of Jihad.

        Did it cross your mind the Christchurch Muslim community may have only known of the Crusaders ( the historical ones) in a fleeting reference type of way?

        I admit..I don’t know. And neither do you. It may be their reluctance to pass a judgement on this name is because they don’t understand what the angst is about?

        Would a Muslim country go into melt down over the name of a football team called the Western Jihadi Tigers? No. And would they care what Westerners thought? No. And fair enough, too. Their country. Their name.

        I also need to remind you, Duker, people have only posted the negatives about the Crusaders. It wasn’t one way traffic. I forget the name of the battle they fought against the Muslim Empire. It was considered the greatest battle in Western history. The only reason we are here is because they won that battle.

        Maybe a little respect for culture wouldn’t go amiss? Have you any?

  6. harryk

     /  3rd April 2019

    ‘Western culture in full decline’

    There are many Western cultures, all in transition as cultures always are. Anyway, glad you wrote culture rather than civilisation. There were once several Western Civilisations too, all ultimately derived from the Central Civilisation of the Near East circa 1500 BC. The US civilisationist David Wilkinson has long provided convincing evidence for the contemporary reality of a single central civilisation, having absorbed all others. I like his approach and it offers a sound basis to argue against Huntington’s poisonous ‘clash of civilisations’ discourse, and his camp followers in the media who push the Islam v Western civ crap. If Wilkinson is correct, Islamic and Western civilisations no longer exist and are just cultural nodes within the recombinant Central Civ. Clash of cultures possibly, civilisations not. But then I’m an optimist not a declinist and I think most people are the same. Wishing you optimism!

    • Corky

       /  3rd April 2019

      Intellectual theorising with some facts and good commentary thrown in.

      Far to complicated for the NOW and what is happening at present. All we need to know is there is a group of cultures and countries who have roots and traditions in what is considered Western civilisation.

      Like the worn cobblestones of Venice, old Europe is stagnating. Younger scions of this great centre of civilisation like America, Australasia and Canada have forged their own versions of Western culture.

      The problem, across the board, is we have immigrants who have absolutely no connection to our culture and idiosyncrasies . We aren’t demanding they change, we are demanding we change to accommodate them. Lack of conflict, soft living and liberal largess has made us weak and effete.

      How else do you explain the Crusaders decision?

    • Gezza

       /  3rd April 2019

      I’m an agnostic, though raised a Catholic. I’ve read fairly widely, but not academically, over many years now, on the Bible, & English translated Quran, including reading them through, & reading bits of translated Muslim Hadith, primarily Bhukari Muslim.

      And reading about the history of the texts versions. And I’ve watched quite a few religious debates with atheists, & between religionists.

      Although I feel no need to read or study further for clarification, having long ago concluded from all this that the Abrahamic God does not exist, I feel I understand why he was invented, how & why his invention was so important to the Israelites, & later the Christians, & in version 3 to the Arabs, now Muslims & why the originating or propagating cultures of the time still feature so strongly in them.

      They each brought with them sets of laws & teachings that were not divinely revealed but clearly evolved over the period of lore & scriptural compilation, and were themselves often inspired & modified by versions of earlier codes.

      And the very powerful, unifying idea for the time, of a sole, all-powerful, all-knowing creator Deity whose reported utterings & inspirations to the chosen prophets & kings justified what they did or saw they needed to do. Other prophets & important successive leaders or interpreters criticised the defaulters, & added to, revised, and re-energised the religions.

      They also needed to have an out clause. The perfect one. When prayed to by the virtuous Jaweh/God-Jesus-Holy Spirit/Allah gave them what they sought, or created conditions that favoured them, so he existed & is righteous & powerful. And when he didn’t it was because of the followers’ flaws, or because a greater good for the community or the individual is intended, one that is imperceptible to man due to his divine but always fundamentally beneficent nature. We are his children. He is our father. Ours is not to reason why he just know & does.

      All of them have bundled & brought with them through the centuries, errors, vices, virtues, laws, myths, magic, rituals, customs, hygienes, treatments, prayers, codes of ethics, punishments, rewards (eternal ife in paradise is the ultimate carrot for anyone afraid of the likelihood their person, their essence, their very being will simply end on death) wars, peaces, tolerances, intolerances, teachers, warrior lords, empires etc & they have governed countries & fundamentally influenced countries and many peoples & many legal & governmental systems of today.

      But when you look at the good parts, the genuine virtues, humilty, honesty, fidelity, charity, brother & sisterhood of mankind, respect for others, God’s plants & creatures, respect & awe of the universe & creation, they all overlap & recommend many or most of the essential rules for harmonious living, in communities & between communities, & in harmony with the earth.

      I have no inclination to look more deeply into the religious philosophers; I could have spent my life doing that & been diverted by how many angels can fit on the head of a pin & what is the meaning of revelation, & of life, never finish reading, & have completely missed the – to me – bleeding obvious. Jaweh’s not there. He never was. And if he was, he’d have a lot to answer for.

      But as a concept & a life manual, even though 3 Abrahamic God’s rule books are sometimes muddled, of dubious intent, & contradictory, & often just totally factually incorrect, & we now know this, his book agents & committed believer salespersons have achieved the most incredible sales in recorded history – through their ability to confine & lock some parts of the human mind in those who cannot otherwise understand & accept things about their existence & purpose in life that they don’t actually need to.

      Other religions share similar useful virtually universal truths & guidelines for harmonious living.

      I wonder if humanity will ever reach a world where people have let the myths of divine inspiration & eternal reward & punishment & foolish irrelevant divine or clerical regulation drop away, & meld together a universal, simple, set of mankind’s agreed commandments to itself. Maybe starting with the first one:

      1. Thou shalt love & respect thy neighbour.

  7. Dave K

     /  3rd April 2019

    “I think it was poorly chosen, and should go.”

    …and the Highlanders . How much rape, pillage and death did those redheaded Jocobites inflict up on the hapless Hanoverians. Surely it is untenable having a sportsteam celebrating the bloodlust of the Frasers, Mackenzies and Gordons?

    ..and the Hurricanes. Why, didn’t Idai just lay waste to large parts of Africa within the last fortnight with an initial death toll of around 1,000, increasing by the day due to cholera etc. Again, death and pestilance, surely not something to be glamorising in a sports team?

    …then there’s the chiefs. Where do you start with that one? Cultural appropriation for a start, let alone the vast list of mercinary deeds perpretated under inumerable chieftan banners.

    …and the blues. Don’t we have a day set aside by no less than NZ’er of the year just this Friday to highlight the devistating effects of this franchise. Again, hardly on to be wearing red bands one day and off to Eden Park to cheer the home team the next.

    I was going to suggest changing the names to A, B, C, D and E in geographical order from north to south (A for Auckland to E for Edinbourg of the south) so as minimise offense but on reflection that may risk offending the trans community (..and Christchurch may get confused as to why they are D and Wellington C).

    So, maybe its down to colours then (blue excepted)….would fit nicely with the rugby unions recent moves.. After all “Diversity is strength” and all that……

    • Corky

       /  3rd April 2019

      Highlanders and Chiefs..also in my bloodline..Whanau and Clan.. warmongers of the first water.

      Well, that’s awkward. I must put my Scottish clan coat of arms away. Ditto my genuine historic taiaha. I think some ”no angst” kindy art my young rellies have painted will hopefully offend no one except an art critic.

  8. sarineal

     /  4th April 2019

    This is where reading history is instructive, the crusades were not invasions and Mongol hordes pouring in or nationalistic communist movements but are described as armed pilgrimages, and Muslim historians took so little interest in them that the first histories of them by Muslim authors weren’t even written until 1865 or so. I very much doubt any of the Muslim community was aware of or offended by the name, probably have been rather taken by surprise by this. It’s tending to be a distraction from some real and genuine issues as to how we protect and keep safe those in minority communities or any of us for that matter. Name change for a sports team is window dressing.

    In any case, as pointed out other names have similar histories and no one is complaining about that and as for the name it can have other meanings such as a vigorous quest. It shouldn’t be that hard to rejig the tacky horsemen branding and make it a quest for the holy grail of the trophy and move away from history if that is needed.

  1. Crusaders name ‘No longer tenable’ — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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