Hurricanes star TJ Perenara blasts team's part owner Troy Bowker for 'Māori​ loving agenda' comments

Hurricanes star TJ Perenara has come out swinging against board member Troy Bowker, after he made "insulting" comments with "underlying racism".

Perenara says he has begun conversations with other Hurricanes players and upper management and he expects these to continue over the coming days.

"The mental, emotional, and cultural safety of our players is crucial and needs to be assured. Our supporters deserve better and should be able to back us without feeling conflicted."

His comments follow Bowker's comments about animation entrepreneur Sir Ian Taylor, who Bowker accused of "sucking up to the left Māori​ loving agenda".

He also asked Sir Ian "what percentage" Māori​ he was.

His comments were in relation to a Tom Scott cartoon Sir Ian posted, with the caption "How come NZ excels on the water in yachting, rowing, kayaking etc? Answer: Our Ancestral DNA!"

Sir Ian said it could be a wonderful message for "Judith [Collins] and her friends".

Bowker took exception to this, saying it was "another example of European NZers not being proud of their own ancestors".

The comments received swift backlash, including from Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard who said he would not attend another match while Bowker remained on the board. 

The Chair of the National Māori​ Authority Matthew Tukaki is calling for Bowker to apologise and step down, saying his comments are "shameful".

"I am sick and tired of people like Bowker thinking that somehow they can get away with this sort of derogatory comment just because they live in some sort of ivory tower. Bowker is nothing more than a scrape the bottom of the barrel character that quite frankly is not deserving of any leadership role."

In a statement to RNZ, Hurricanes Rugby chair Iain Potter said Bowker is not an employee of the Hurricanes.

"As a part owner of the Hurricanes, Troy is entitled to a director's role and consequently, we are not in a position to control his opinions when he speaks and represents himself or his businesses outside of rugby. The Hurricanes do not support the remarks in question."

Bowker has doubled down on his comments in a post on LinkedIn, saying he stands behind them "100 percent".

"New Zealand has had enough of the woke left wing culture which the left are so hell bent on preaching to the rest of us."