Australian and New Zealand readers, both here and abroad have responded strongly to a report in yesterday's Herald and nzherald.co.nz about the verbal abuse an Australian couple received from Kiwi rugby fans at last Saturday's Ireland versus Australia match.
Here are some of the views:
I wish to express my disgust at the thugs who took it upon themselves to abuse our Australian visitors. I consider myself a decent citizen like the majority of New Zealanders and feel embarassed and let down by their behaviour. My apologies to Aussies and I want to welcome them here.
Ruth Sutton, New Zealand
I've always thought of NZ as a brother of Australia. However after my experience over the past two weeks I will never be travelling across the pond again. I have been abused in the street, screamed at by my hotel cleaning staff, my friends have been kicked out of pubs and one of my travel companions has been threatened with a knife. New Zealanders need to grow up, the racism is unbecoming and you do no deserve the honour of hosting such an event.
Alice O'Hara, Australia
We hear the booing loud and clear from across the Ditch. Australians far and wide, rugby fans or no, are shocked and bewildered by the level of Kiwi hatred aimed at Australians. The Anzac spirit is definitely one-sided. Our team is systematically castigated in your press, in the stands and in the streets, yet we are labeled arrogant and disrespectful. We've noticed the irony. Thank you New Zealand for your all-embracing warm and fuzzy welcome. You may have deepened your ties with South Africa and other countries, but you have indelibly damaged your relationship with us. Why?
a proud Aussie married to a Kiwi
I felt outraged that an ignorant group of people are bringing the World Cup into disrepute. I wonder how New Zealanders would feel being subjected to the same treatment. We are supposed to be the host nation - a gracious host to all the nationalities taking part including and not excluding Australia.
Penny Forster, New Zealand
I am an Australian and was there on Saturday night at Eden Park. I was amazed the lengths the New Zealanders went to to cheer on the Ireland team. Australians are happy to call NZers their brothers and cousins but the treatment at Eden Park was far from cuzzy.
Rob O'Dwyer, Australia
I don't think it's just Aussies who have have had a rough ride. I've seen people shouting out or posting on Facebook comments about the Falklands while England were playing Argentina. I've heard South Africans shouted at and insulted. As a British expat living here, I've been embarrassed by the vile parochialism on display. Our priority should be to show off the stunning country but all we seem bothered about is how much money we're making and how well the All Blacks are doing. Our guests will go home with a very different view of their visit than we may have expected.
Stephen Williams, New Zealand
Get a grip. That was minor compared to Ireland versus England and Scotland versus England. If it upsets you, give a bit back.
Yes, some of our fans are becoming an embarrassment. There is nothing wrong with a good nature-ed ribbing of each other but the amount of pissed-up imbeciles that ruin it for everyone else is what has put me off going to games. Spitting on people (if it's true), come on, is this what we are about? All angst ridden, insecure, mob mentality? I really hope not!
Rob Crawford, New Zealand
Having recently attended the Bledisloe Cup match as a proud New Zealander I found the Anti-NZ sentiment bordered on obscene. One of the women in the group of NZers in our row encountered sexually explicit and derogatory comments from the yobbo, loud-mouthed Australian behind us. The rampant booing of Daniel Carter when kicking was not matched when the Wallabies kickers had a go. The only time the NZ fans outshouted the Aussies was when they started to sing Waltzing Matilda. So perhaps people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
Jennifer Young, New Zealand
Sporting competitiveness has been elevated to hatred by the media frenzy and I am telling you I won't be back for several years nor will I talk to any NZ people about rugby as you obviously are so obsessed you have lost your good sporting nature. I work with several NZers in Australia and they are embarrassed about the behaviour. I am sure there are many other Kiwis cringing at this parochial nonsense. I hope NZ wins the cup, I honestly do so you can regain some normality.
Dr Jonathan Wright
Yes I do believe the relationship has changed for the worse. No longer is it Love/Hate sport relationship, but a vitriolic one. I am an Aussie with NZ citizenship but am ashamed of my adopted country, for its attitude, at this moment.
Don, dual citizen
As a New Zealander living in Australia I am at times appalled by Kiwi behaviour towards Australians, but also vice versa. The World Cup is an opportunity for New Zealanders to show off our country and its people. For a few morons to spoil it with aggressive behaviour creates a negative view.
The reason for the dislike of Australians is quite simple. They will use any rule, no matter how obscure or unsportsman-like, to win. Remember the underarm bowl. Go Black!