A new poll has revealed that 76% of New Zealanders are against the Crusaders changing their name.

Following the March 15 mass shootings at two Christchurch mosques that left 50 dead, the Crusaders announced that the franchise's name would be reviewed.

The nine-time Super Rugby champions have had the name since the inaugural 1996 Super 12 season but it came under question due to the history of the Crusades which were a series of religious and political wars between Christians and Muslims fought in 11th and 13th centuries.

It seemed at first that many New Zealanders backed the change, however, a 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll has suggested otherwise.

Braydon Ennor, Sevu Reece and David Havili of the Crusaders. Photo / Photosport
Braydon Ennor, Sevu Reece and David Havili of the Crusaders. Photo / Photosport

Only 14% of Kiwis supported the Crusaders name change in the poll results, with 76% keen to have it stay and 8% unsure.

Groups of people living in Otago and Southland, National Party supporters and people aged 18-29 were identified as more likely to believe the Crusaders name should remain unchanged.

"So these are really striking figures and what they tell us is that a very small proportion of New Zealanders understand the deep history of conflict between Muslims and Christians that the word Crusade means," historian Peter Lineham told 1 NEWS.

Earlier this month, NZR chief executive Steve Tew said that maintaining the status quo was no longer tolerable.

Try time flames. Photo / Photosport
Try time flames. Photo / Photosport

"We are asking Research First to look into two possible options moving forward - retaining the 'Crusaders' name but changing the branding and associated imagery; or undertaking a complete rebranding, including the name and all imagery," Tew said.

Meanwhile, Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge said they are committed to taking the process seriously and doing the right thing.

"This is an event that rocked our community and brought some important issues to the fore," Mansbridge said. "One of the contentious issues that has been brought up in the aftermath of the Christchurch attacks is the name of our rugby team – the Crusaders.

"Because of our desire to be the best we can be and to support our community, we are treating the question around the appropriateness of our brand extremely seriously.


"We are committed to undertaking a thorough process, taking into account all relevant opinions and, most importantly, we are committed to doing the right thing."

It was confirmed that a review into the name change would not take place before the completion of the 2019 season.