Woman responds to Mad Butcher Sir Peter Leitch's Waiheke comments

The woman who accused Sir Peter Leitch of racially abusing her has denied telling him that "she was Tangata Whenua and could do what she liked".

Lara Bridger said she was with her sister and mother at Waiheke's Stonyridge Vineyard on Tuesday when Sir Peter approached their group.

In an emotional Facebook video, Ms Bridger claimed Sir Peter told her to leave Waiheke because it was "a white man's island".

But Sir Peter - known as the Mad Butcher - said his words had been taken out of context.

"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.

He said he was "extremely disappointed" his comments were seen as anything other than "banter".

But in a new post on Wednesday morning, Ms Bridger denied saying her birthplace gave her free rein.

"Record straight I did NOT say "I could do what I like" he came at us with the whole your not a local in which I responded "yeah Im tangata whenua born here mate 23years ago [sic]...

"When your standing over someone pointing at them in the face with a stern tone I didnt take it as light banter [sic]."

Ms Bridger said she deleted the video - which had more than 100,000 views - because she had made her point and "people were going a bit overboard with threats and racist comments".

"I will contact him myself and hopefully hel understand why I was so upset [sic]," she wrote on Facebook.

Sir Peter said he "apologised unreservedly" when Ms Bridger told her she was offended by his comment.

"There is no way I can ever be accused of being racist," he said.

Mike King urges calm

Meanwhile, Māori comedian Mike King has come to the defence of his long-time friend Sir Peter but also says people shouldn't attack Ms Bridger either.

"Sir Peter Leitch is many things, humorous, caring, boisterous, outrageous but never ever can you call @sirmadbutcher a racist #IGotYaBackBro," he wrote on Twitter.

"Please don't turn this into a reason to attack or hate on the young lady, how she felt is how she felt. Her feelings are valid. I'm only commenting as someone who has known Butch for more than 20 years and knows what a caring loving man he is," he continued in a Facebook post.

Boxer and former rugby league player Monty Betham is also standing by Sir Peter's side, saying he's "seen/experienced his sensitive side towards Island and Māori culture amongst other in the melting pot of ethnicity involved in Rugby League on and off the field".

He says Sir Peter isn't racist.

"In this situation Sir Peter once again was trying to do what he does - bring a smile to ones face, add some humour to ones day and most importantly try to interact with as many people as possible because he cares so much," Betham wrote in an Instagram post.


Businessman Sir Peter made his name with his chain of Mad Butcher stores around New Zealand and is a passionate supporter of The Warriors NRL team.