Green co-leader Marama Davidson says New Zealand must reclaim the 'C-word'

Green co-leader Marama Davidson is on a crusade to reclaim the word Kiwis find most offensive.

At an anti-racism rally attended by families, she dropped the 'C-bomb' not once, not twice, but three separate times. She was later unapologetic about her language.

"I stand by using that word," she told Newshub.

The Oxford Dictionary defines the word 'c**t' as "vulgar slag meaning either a woman's genitals or an unpleasant or stupid person".

"That word is a powerful word for women and shouldn't be used as abuse," Ms Davidson says.

Recent research prepared by the Broadcasting Standards Authority found the 'C-word' was still the most offensive in New Zealand, followed closely by the 'N-word'.

But people's attitudes toward the word are changing. Five years ago, 72 percent of those surveyed thought the word was unacceptable in all scenarios. This year that statistic dropped to 63 percent.

"I think it's a word that we have to disarm and reclaim," Ms Davidson says.

'Reclaiming' means turning a negative slur into a positive word, like the LGBTQ community did with the word 'queer' in the 1980s and 1990s.

Victoria University Linguistics Professor Miriam Meyrhoff says the next generation is on board.

"My students are much more comfortable using it than I was, so there's clearly an age difference in terms of how acceptable it is."

Ms Davidson's intentions seemed to be good, but with more than 60 percent of the country still finding it highly offensive, perhaps New Zealand isn't quite ready to reclaim the 'C-word'.