Christopher Luxon in hot water for claiming winning Ōtara college sports team was from Botany

National Party leader Christopher Luxon is in hot water with a south Auckland community after claiming a local sports team was "out of Botany", when they were really from Ōtara. 

Luxon shared a post from the Tangaroa College Facebook page last Monday with a message to their 1st IX team after the head-turning victory against the 1A competition heavyweights, Auckland Grammar.

"Congratulations to the Tangaroa College 1st XV on winning their game over Auckland Grammar this weekend! Great game and great result, well done boys. I love seeing wins coming out of Botany!"

Grammar has produced more All Blacks than any school in the country and has won or shared the title 66 times since the competition started in 1896.  

On the other hand, Tangaroa College is a decile one school with no imports, no scholarships, no out-of-zone players, no repeaters, and "probably the smallest budget in Auckland 1st XV Rugby," according to the school sports Facebook page. 

The post is causing a stir online with residents calling out Luxon for being absent in the community, with others correcting his statement. 

"So because they've won they're now from Botany. Tangaroa is in Ōtara, give credit where it's due and use the right location when praising kids for their achievements," said an Ōtara resident. 

Some suggested the claim was convenient for Luxon and cherry-picking, with one local saying, "If it's positive, it's Botany. If it were a crime instead or something bad, it would no doubt be Ōtara."

Luxon is the MP for the Botany electorate encompassing Tangaroa College, with the western boundary running along Preston Road, only 800 metres from the secondary school. 

The majority of Ōtara falls under the Panmure-Ōtāhuhu electorate and the care of Labour MP Jenny Salesa.  

Salesa said she understood the strong reaction from the community. 

"I can relate and I understand the reaction from our local Ōtara community to the post. I read a note from Apulu Reece Autagavaia, the Chair of Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board and one of the things he stated was 'Ōtara is Ōtara' and I fully endorse that sentiment," she said. 

Local Pastor Cliff Wadsworth said Ōtara residents within the Botany boundary are "in limbo". 

"Residents have no idea who the candidates are because they are focused on Botany Town Centre… Now Luxon has come in, he's totally disconnected from that part of his electorate."

"This is why the Tangaroa College thing was seen as very inappropriate for him to claim the victory since he has never even been to the school once to my knowledge," Wadsworth said. 

The community has been through a spate of gang-related shootings in recent weeks, making any wins a welcome relief. 

Tangaroa College interim principal Imeleta Faumuina appreciates that the school was acknowledged for their success on the sports field.

"It's nice. I don't have a problem with it. A lot of people don't realise we are part of the Botany electorate," she said in response to Luxon's post.

Asked what Luxon could do for the community, Faumuina said he is welcome to visit. 

"We welcome any politicians to visit our school as we haven't had any here since Jacinda Ardern came to visit our Connected Learning Centre."

The Prime Minister visited the centre in 2018. 

In response to the backlash, Luxon pointed out he has visited several schools in the Botany electorate, including Dawson Primary School, which is around the corner from Tangaroa College. 

"I just wanted to acknowledge and celebrate Tangaroa College beating Auckland Grammar. The school is in the Botany electorate and I thought it was a brilliant result."

Electoral boundaries are redrawn after every census and will not be revisited again until just prior to the 2026 general election.