Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson says he supports conversations around a potential name change for the Crusaders, in the wake of last week's terrorist attacks in Christchurch.

Last week's shootings on two separate mosques, which left at least 50 dead and dozens injured, has prompted many fans and pundits to question the appropriateness of the Crusaders' name.

Historically, the Crusades were a series of religious and political wars between Christians and Muslims fought in 11th and 13th centuries.

The current name of the Christchurch-based Super Rugby franchise has been labeled by many as highly offensive and inappropriate, especially during a time when the muslim community and the rest of the country is reeling from such a devastating attack.


Robertson said conversations around potentially changing the Crusaders' name are necessary.

"I'm aware of the conversations that they're now having with - in particular - the Muslim community in Christchurch," Robertson said.

"I think that's appropriate, clearly this is a big issue in Canterbury.

"The Crusaders is a well-established name and brand, but I think it's a responsible action to undertake those conversations now."

The minister didn't, however, feel comfortable expressing an opinion on the matter just yet, saying it was important that discussions were held between the team and the wider community first.

"I'm not going to express opinion on that today," he said. "It's more important that conversation happens with the Muslim community in Christchurch, and the wider Canterbury community. Then I'll take some soundings after that."

On Sunday night, the Crusaders issued a statement saying they "understood the concerns that have been raised" and will consider changing their name.

"For us, the Crusaders name is a reflection of the crusading spirit of this community," the statement read. "What we stand for is the opposite of what happened in Christchurch on Friday; our crusade is one for peace, unity, inclusiveness and community spirit.


"In our view, this is a conversation that we should have and we are taking on board all of the feedback that we are receiving. However, we also believe that the time is not right now."