Rugby League: Crystal Collins explains NZ national anthem 'debacle'

Crystal Collins has apologised to New Zealand for butchering our national anthem at the Kiwis vs England rugby league test at Denver.

The local jazz singer nearly created an international incident with her pre-game rendition of the Māori and English verses.

NZ Rugby League chief executive Greg Peters described the effort as "disgraceful" and insisted he would seek an explanation from game promoters.

But Collins told NZME on Tuesday that a mix-up with her monitor and the unexpected start to the anthem were responsible for her gaffe.

"I'd like to apologise to you and all the citizens of New Zealand for that debacle," she said. "I could hear nothing, nothing at all."

Collins said she had practiced with a version that included an intro, but was totally unprepared when the anthem kicked straight into a vocal track. From that point, she was playing catch-up without the benefit of hearing the tune.

She told NZME the outrage from this part of the world "was to be expected".

"I felt horrible. I expect that all the ridicule I'm getting, it's warranted."

Collins, who sings in five other languages, then ripped into a beautiful version of the Māori verse, just to prove she could do it right.

The lady can sing.