The Race Relations Commissioner has praised young England cricketer Jofra Archer for being brave enough to call out the racial abuse he says he received at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Monday afternoon from a person in the crowd.
Tauranga's mayor has called the incident "completely unacceptable" and the general manager of Bay Oval says staff at the ground are "hugely disappointed".
Archer posted a message on social media on Monday night, after his side lost the first test match to the Black Caps, saying it was "a bit disturbing" hearing racial insults while he was batting to help save his team late on the fifth day.
A bit disturbing hearing racial insults today whilst battling to help save my team , the crowd was been amazing this week except for that one guy , @TheBarmyArmy was good as usual also— Jofra Archer (@JofraArcher) November 25, 2019
The incident is said to have taken place after the 24-year-old was dismissed and was walking off the field to the pavilion.
Archer could be seen talking to security at the boundary fence as he left the field.
Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon said this afternoonthat reports of these incidents of racial abuse "put a stain on the sporting code and an otherwise great event".
"It's 2019 and it's utterly disgusting for an athlete or member of the public to be targeted and abused because of their skin colour," he said.
"It's not a good look for New Zealand, anytime we hurl abuse at visiting athletes and our local sportspeople. It really is disappointing. I commend Jofra Archer for being brave enough to call this behaviour out."
Archer said on Twitter on Monday that the Bay Oval crowd had been amazing all week "except for that one guy".
He later told ESPNcricinfo the abuser had been making comments "about the colour of my skin".
Archer also reportedly claimed the same person appeared to have contacted him on Instagram with additional insults.
"As a result, authorities are confident of being able to identify him," ESPNcricinfo reported today.
• England's Barmy Army gets the atmosphere going at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui
• Black Caps vs England: Kane Williamson - Bay Oval milestone
• Stage set for first test of the summer at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui
• Cricket: Schmulian reckons Bay Oval is like a home venue
Ashley Giles, England's director of cricket, told ESPNcricinfo there was something offensive said from the crowd, from the scoreboard area at Bay Oval.
Giles said Archer reported this to security immediately as he came off and also reported it to England team security as he got back into the changing rooms.
Tauranga mayor Tenby Powell expressed his "deep regret" at the reported racial abuse.
"That behaviour is completely unacceptable," Powell said.
"Tauranga aims to be a welcoming and inclusive city and racial abuse in any form is not acceptable at any of our venues. We support the action under way by NZ Cricket and will provide any assistance they might need to address this situation."
Bay Oval general manager Kelvin Jones said one individual had marred what was otherwise a fantastically successful event.
"It's just not okay and it's certainly not the Kiwi way and it's certainly not the Tauranga way."
Jones said Bay Oval had zero tolerance for that sort of behaviour and they would work with New Zealand Cricket in an attempt to identify the individual.
New Zealand Cricket said on social media on Monday night it was "shocked and disappointed" to hear of the verbal abuse and that while England might be "our rivals" they were also "our friends".
"And racist abuse is never okay!"
We are shocked and disappointed to hear of the verbal abuse @JofraArcher received after the Test today. @englandcricket might be our rivals but they're also our friends and racist abuse is never okay!— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) November 25, 2019
In a statement, the organisation said it would be contacting and apologising to Archer "for the unacceptable experience, and to promise increased vigilance in the matter when the teams next meet in Hamilton".
New Zealand Cricket said although security providers at the venue were unable to locate the perpetrator, it would be examining CCTV footage and making further inquiries on Tuesday in an endeavour to identify the man responsible.
"NZC has zero tolerance towards abusive or offensive language at any of its venues and will refer any developments in the case to police."
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) also confirmed that it was investigating the incident, adding that it "took place after Archer was dismissed and was walking off the field to the pavilion".
"Whilst this is a relatively isolated incident there is absolutely no place for anti-social or racist behaviour within the game and it is vitally important that all spectators feel able to come forward to report such behaviour and feel safe in doing so."
Tourism Bay of Plenty's Kath Low said the alleged racial comments were not representative of the majority.
"We want all visitors to feel welcome and to leave feeling they have had a fantastic time and as a result of that, they share our love of the Bay of Plenty."
Meanwhile, Foon said everyone had a part to play in giving nothing to racism.
"First, bystanders should call it out immediately and tell the abusers to stop it. A simple 'mate, that's not on' or 'stop doing that' is a good start. This takes the pressure off the victim of racism to defend themselves.
"Secondly, my advice is for sporting bodies to implement anti-racism education and initiatives so that their fans know why racism is never acceptable. This can help people know what to do when a mate or a fellow fan is hurling racial abuse."