A Canterbury club rugby player has been hit with a 40-week ban from the game after racially abusing an opponent.
Bronson Munro, who plays for club side Waihora and is a Canterbury Maori representative, was handed the suspension following allegations he called Southbridge opponent Peni Manumanuniliwa a "black c***" in a match between Southbridge and Waihora on June 11.
Stuff.co.nz reported Munro allegedly made the racist remark after Manumanuniliwa was penalised for a high tackle.
A a complaint laid by the Southbridge Rugby Football Club and the Canterbury Metropolitan judicial committee found Munro guilty of "acts or statements that are discriminatory by reason of religion, race, sex or national or ethnic origin".
Canterbury Rugby's general manager community rugby, Tim Gilkison, said the suspension was at the serious end of the sanction available to the committee.
"Munro has been suspended from all rugby matches, including any on-field activities, until 31 May 2017.
Waihora Rugby Club has also been put on notice with respect to conduct by players and spectators at any future rugby games.
"This sort of racial abuse is simply unacceptable, either in rugby or in society in general. We are committed to doing anything in our power to stamp out this sort of behaviour in our game, but we can only act when we receive a complaint. That is why we are encouraging all of those involved in the game to come forward, as Southbridge Rugby Club did, when such behaviour is witnessed. That complaint has allowed us to reach the outcome that we have," Mr Gilkison said.
"While we do not usually release findings of the judicial committee, in light of public and media speculation about this incident, we have decided to so in this case. We also hope it serves as a timely reminder to others that we will simply not condone any form of racism in rugby."