Massey University has backed down from hosting a controversial feminist event following threats it could loose its Rainbow Tick if it went ahead.

The event, organised by a group called Speak Up 4 Women, sparked fury among the rainbow community for being anti gender self-identification on birth certificates and the inclusion of transgender women in women's sport.

One of the speakers of the event was going to be Canadian blogger Meghan Murphy, who had been banned from Twitter for violating its hateful conduct policy.

Though the university last month said it did not share the views of the speakers of Feminism 2020, until today it was planned to still go ahead at the Wellington campus in November.


Now, the university says it has advised Speak Up For Women to find an alternative venue for its Feminism 2020 event.

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"The University has received external advice on its health, safety and wellbeing obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, and its duty of care to the university community, and has made the decision on these grounds.

"The legal advice we have received is that cancellation of the event, as concluded by the report, is the only way to eliminate the risk to health and safety and to ensure that the University would not be in breach of its health and safety obligations," a statement from the university said.

The statement said the university was still committed to the values of academic freedom, the freedom of speech, and the freedom of expression, as values that lie at the very heart of the tradition of a university and academic inquiry.

"However, this event has created significant disruption to our students, staff and University operations, and we cannot accept any further risk or issues, or any risk of potential harm that may impact upon a particularly vulnerable community."

In August 2017, Massey received its Rainbow Tick accreditation, signalling it had completed a diversity and inclusion assessment process.

But Rainbow Tick acting president Martin King last month spoke out about it "absolutely" did not support groups that incited "any conversation that is anti-trans".


"We want to ensure they uphold their Rainbow Tick values," King told Stuff earlier this month.

Students and staff rallied for the event to be axed, with some saying they felt attacked and vulnerable.