Michelle Boag regrets 'coffee coloured' skin comment

The spokeswoman for under-fire Sir Peter Leitch regrets saying the woman who felt racially abused by him was "barely coffee-coloured".

But Michelle Boag says she believed her comment to a Maori TV journalist was off-the-record and wouldn't be reported.

The former National Party president and PR consultant has been handling media requests for Sir Peter, also known as the Mad Butcher, since Lara Wharepapa-Bridger posted an emotional Facebook video claiming he was racist to her.

Ms Boag says she didn't know until after making the "coffee-coloured" comment that she was on speaker phone to a number of other people. 

"It was a rather silly thing to say in retrospect. It was just a flippant comment based on a response to [Ms Wharepapa-Bridger] suggesting [Sir Peter] made a beeline to her because she was black, which was just ridiculous," she told Newshub.

Nowhere in the video, which has since been taken down, did Ms Wharepapa-Bridger mention anything about her skin colour.

Ms Boag says she and the journalist "clearly... had different understandings" about what the conversation was.

"If I'd been having a conversation with him for publication then clearly I wouldn't have said that. If I had my time again and those were the circumstances then no, I wouldn't have said it."

Sir Peter won't meet with Ms Wharepapa-Bridger

Ms Wharepapa-Bridger says she messaged Sir Peter after his statement came out claiming his comments had been misinterpreted.

"I asked him, 'I'd like to meet personally and let you explain what you meant, and I'll explain how I took it and why I was so upset,' and all he messaged back was to say 'sorry, have a good 2017'. That's about it," she told RNZ.

She says she apologised for posting the video, explaining she was upset at the time.

"I don't wish harm on your family, I don't wish any racist remarks towards you."

Ms Boag told Newshub that meeting won't happen.

"She's been very public. Peter's made one comment to put the facts on the record and he's been, apart from that, very private, and I think he feels something like that will turn into a media circus.

"He's said everything he wanted to say to her."

The exchange happened earlier this week at Stonyridge Vineyard on Waiheke Island.

Ms Wharepapa-Bridger claimed Sir Peter told her to leave the island because it was a "white man's island".

In a statement, Sir Peter said he was "extremely disappointed" his comments were seen as anything other than "banter".

"I was joking with her group about not drinking too much because there were lots of police on the island. She said that she was tangata whenua and could do what she liked," Sir Peter said in a statement.

Sir Peter said he "apologised unreservedly" for his comments to her after he'd realised she had been offended.

Ms Wharepapa-Bridger upset at being called a liar

Ms Wharepapa-Bridger has gone into more detail about what happened at the vineyard, and is adamant she didn't misinterpret what was said.

She said at first, Sir Peter's approach to them seemed friendly, "but then his tone was more like a telling off… his tone when speaking to us was demoralising, really," she told RNZ.

"That's the first time on the island or anywhere that I've felt like I don't belong."

He left their table "just as fast as he'd said it", but the group was left shell-shocked trying to figure out what he'd meant.

"Our whole group was just in shock, and we sat there for five minutes trying to interpret what he said, we were all like, 'What just happened?'"

She didn't think she'd misunderstood him.

"He stood over me and pointed to me - I'm the darkest in the group and if he was meaning in a friendly, fun way, he would have said it to the whole group; but he looked me straight in the eye, stood over me a pointed straight in my face. That was probably the worst bit because I felt singled out."

She says speaking up has made her question the mentality of New Zealanders toward the issue.

"It's upsetting. I've spoken out and yet people will call me a liar because he has status in the community. He's admitted to making the comments, he's a Sir, he should know better to even say that kind of stuff - even if it was a joke."

In defence of Sir Peter

A number of people have come to Sir Peter's defence, including boxer Monty Betham, comedian Mike King and Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.

Dame Susan told Radio NZ he was the "least racist person I know in the world".

But Samoan UFC fighter Mark Hunt had a different story to tell, saying Sir Peter once referred to one of his Samoan opponents as a "coconut".

He says Sir Peter should know better and said Ms Wharepapa-Bridger did the right thing in raising her concerns.

"It doesn't matter what you've done for any country, you can't joke about s**t like that. It's not funny."