The publisher of the National Business Review has apologised after publishing a tweet which said Māori were "too lazy to be good fathers and husbands to their chaotic children and families."
The tweet, which was distributed via the official NBR account boasting 18,500 followers, was met with immediate rebuke after its publication yesterday afternoon.
Attributed to a member subscriber comment, the tweet was part of NBR's recent series of tweets featuring the views of readers who had posted in the website's comment section.
Over the course of the afternoon, NBR also published a number of other tweets featuring member comments broaching the subject of Māori land rights.
Even though the tweets weren't written by the NBR editorial team, numerous users took exception to the fact that the media company was willing to publish this kind of content on its official Twitter account.
User Ryan Mearns, who works as a digital campaign manager for the Human Rights Commission, also weighed in on the matter, questioning whether the 'R' in NBR stood for 'racist'.
The tweets have since been deleted, with two members of the NBR leadership team issuing apologies that they were ever published.
The first to do so was NBR co-editor Tim Hunter, who tweeted in the afternoon that he had just had the comment drawn to his attention and that he deleted it.
He also went on to admit that it shouldn't have been published in the first place.
NBR publisher Todd Scott, a prolific Twitter user in his own right, has since taken ownership of the mishap, mirroring Hunter's view that it was a mistake to give the selected member comments any airtime.
"I was the duty moderator yesterday and I let my fellow colleagues down by leading a poor example of, firstly, posting the entire comment, then, secondly, tweeting a portion of that comment. The motivation was to engage people and to have this racist view admonished as it rightly should be," Scott said.
Scott went on to recognise the efforts of his staff in eliminating the offensive content.
"Following this error of judgement, my editors acted swiftly in having the comments removed," he said.
"I fully support and endorse that they acted independently and without fear in over-riding a poor call on my part."
Scott did, however, defend the continued use of reader comments on the NBR.
"While other big and very small publishers boast they don't allow member engagement, I consider this an NBR point of difference," he said.
This is not the first time NBR has faced criticism for publishing content viewed as racist.
Last February, the media company faced major backlash for publishing a Waitangi Day op-ed by property developer Sir Bob Jones, calling for a public holiday during which "Māori bring us breakfast in bed or weed our gardens, wash and polish our cars and so on".
The criticism that ensued saw NBR pull the content from its website.
Although a complaint to the Press Council about the column was later rejected, NBR said it would no longer publish any columns by Jones.