Sir William Gallagher has apologised for his controversial remarks about the Treaty and Māori, claiming he 'needs to seek more research'.
The outspoken fencing magnate offended many over the weekend when it was reported he verbally attacked Māori and the Treaty of Waitangi, saying the Treaty is a fraud and that 'Māori' itself wasn't a term before 1850.
He made the comments while speaking to a gathering of businesspeople in Hamilton on Friday. As well as questioning the authenticity of the treaty, the magnate reportedly complained about monetary reparations for Māori.
His comments drew widespread criticism, with Federation of Māori Authorities chair, Traci Houpapa saying: "This is old thinking, this is thinking from a time that we have left in our history books."
Sir Gallagher has since released an official statement saying:
"Many of you will have seen the recent press regarding my comments on the Treaty of Waitangi and historical accounts of the formation and meaning of this document and related matters."
"I am a business person and not a historian. Since then I have been doing further reading and acknowledge that I also need to seek more research and understanding on this topic from various viewpoints."
"I apologise for any offence taken and in particular for any inference that my views somehow represented an anti-Māori sentiment as this is not my intention."
He concludes by discussing financial contributions his businesses' make towards community initiatives and diversity of hiring within his company.