Former All Black Sonny Bill Williams has praised protesters in the UK who tore down a controversial statue.
Black Lives Matter protesters in Bristol pulled down a statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston over the weekend as part of rallies against white supremacy and racial injustice.
It was part of worldwide protests sparked by the death of African-American George Floyd who died after being pinned underneath a police officer for almost nine minutes.
Williams, who now plays for the Toronto Wolfpack in the English Super League, has long been an outspoken advocate for social justice and took to social media to commend the Bristol protesters who dragged the statue through the streets before dumping it into the harbour.
"Common sense has prevailed!" Williams wrote on his social media profiles along with a photo of protesters. "This is what should happen to all statues that represent tyrants & oppressors."
According to the Guardian, Bristol mayor Marvin Rees said the statue will be retrieved from the harbour but no decision about its future has been made.
As statues representing colonial and racist figures are toppled around the world, historians are urging New Zealanders to reflect on the place of those in their own backyards.
In Aotearoa/New Zealand hundreds of statues depicting colonial history are scattered across the country with little or no balance with Māori history, along with streets and places even named after slave traders who never set foot here, and city grids in the shape of the Union Jack in mainly Māori towns conquered by British forces.
Williams' comments come after his former All Blacks teammate TJ Perenara also spoke in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
"For a big part there's a lot of positive things happening in the world and there's also a lot of negative things that individuals and groups are doing in this space," Perenara said this week.
"I firmly stand with Black Lives Matter. I stand with the people who are being affected by it as well."
The Hurricanes halfback said it's important for New Zealand to rally and support the movement, adding that racism is also a problem in this country.
"I can't speak for everyone but some people have taken some responsibility and I think it's good. I don't think it [racism] is isolated to America.
"It's a problem we have all over the world including our own country. For us to see people rallying and getting behind it and standing with Black Lives Matter is a really important thing for us to do."
Thousands of Kiwis took to the streets on Queens Birthday in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as to protest armed police trials in New Zealand.
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster announced on Tuesday that Armed Response Teams will be scrapped following criticism from the public of the trial.