Rotorua Stockcar Club members will decide this weekend whether or not to ditch their Confederate flag symbol that became "embroiled in a controversy".
But the club secretary and spokeswoman says members will not take an online petition with more than 1000 signatures calling for the flag to ousted, into consideration.
Black Lives Matter advocates criticised the use of the flag last month in the first weeks of international protests following the death under police restraint of unarmed black man George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Black Lives Matter Auckland solidarity spokeswoman Shalane Williams said the club's continued use of the flag was "a metaphoric slap in the face for the black community" and
Black Creatives Aotearoa founder Dione Joseph deemed it "deeply disturbing".
The club said in a statement on Facebook that members would decide whether to "rebrand" at their annual general meeting on July 26 and that the flag was "innocently introduced" in 1985 but became "embroiled in a controversy".
Last month, Rotorua MP Todd McClay said he didn't think the club should change the flag because locals had "much more important things" to think about, such as job losses.
But Waiariki MP Tāmati Coffey hoped "they [club members] arrive at a yes for change".
Yesterdayclub secretary and spokeswoman Sonja Hickey told NZME the petition would not be considered as part of the flag deliberations at the AGM and media were not allowed to attend.
Petition organiser and Wellington communications professional Ben Aulakh told NZME yesterday"this symbol of enslavement of black people and the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacy has no place in New Zealand".
He had hoped the petition's 1051 signatures would be taken into account at the AGM.
"So many people have not only taken the time to sign the petition, but also made the effort to leave comments explaining their reasons for signing."
Aulkah sent the list of signatures and comments to the club president and secretary after the petition closed on Thursday night.
"The only right decision is to remove the symbol."
He said he would continue pushing for change at the club if the flag was maintained and talking to wider stakeholders in the Rotorua community such as Te Arawa iwi leaders and politicians.
"I wholeheartedly believe that the club innocently started using the flag completely unaware of the significant historical issues around it."
Last month, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (Nascar) banned the Confederate flag, which had been a regular sight at US and Canadian stock car events for more than 70 years, from its races and properties.
Rotorua deputy mayor Dave Donaldson said yesterdayhe also "accepted entirely" the flag was innocently adopted by the club.
He said in light of the global protests and upset over racial oppression, the fact the emblem had been removed from Mississippi's state flag and it had been banned by Nascar, "the decision for the stockcar club becomes a pretty easy one".
"I'm not telling the club what to do," he said, "but it's not, in my personal view, an appropriate symbol to be used".
"Having grown up in the era when the Dukes of Hazzard was a popular television show, and the General [Lee] had the same symbol ... I can understand that's the kind of driving simulated on the track much to the delight and entertainment of fans."
The former police officer, who has been a part of numerous sports clubs in the Rotorua community, said: "as a committee member you're always mindful of your social licence".
"It's going to be an important factor for the likes of sponsors and other supporters ... Nascar has taken that on board."
Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon said last month it would be "provocative" for the club to keep using the flag.
The Human Rights Commission launched its new Voice of Racism campaign this week and Foon said it would be "a useful resource for members heading into the AGM".
"It gives a general overview of racism, the real harm and impacts that racism causes, and what we can all do about it.
"Around the world there is a public debate about racism represented by historical symbols and monuments. New Zealand is also engaged in this discussion.
"The club has an opportunity to learn and address the harm that these symbols represent for many groups and people."