The horrors of the Christchurch mosque massacres continue to ripple and shudder – despite the triumphant tsunami of solidarity and compassion that roared through the land in outraged response.

Much like the seemingly endless aftershocks that prevented Cantabrians moving on from the devastating quakes as quickly as they wanted, flashbacks of March 15 events will prey on personal and community wounds for an age yet.

But in the meantime – as ever – the survivors regroup as best they can to re-confront the business of everyday life.

One such minor ramification of the whole tragedy is the call to lose the "Crusaders" brand for the local Super Rugby franchise – with all its accompanying panoply of chain-mailed knights, crucifixes and brandishing swords, no pun intended.


Understandably, associations with ancient anti-Muslim conflicts - however tenuous - are now manifestly inappropriate for the franchise's main city.

However, now comes the hard part – namely, the new name.

Branding anything is always a fascinating exercise – except perhaps for the hapless dogie having a red-hot logo iron clapped on its tender rump.

But re-branding is even more interesting, especially when the existing brand has been as successful as the Crusaders moniker. In the history of Super Rugby, the Crusaders have topped the podium no less than three times more than their closest rival.

Okay, so what's it going to be, keeping in mind the franchise's territory extends to regions like Marlborough and the West Coast also?

One of the early suggestions when the franchise was being established was the "Plainsmen" - an obvious allusion to a big chunk of hinterland. But the Plainsmen was deemed a bit too – well, plain. The men's indoor basketball team had already nabbed the "Rams" - a nod to the region's ovine heritage - and the "Tuppers" didn't seem to have quite the same ring. There would have been Tupperware jokes - prophylactics, and so forth.

The "Campaigners"? That's a bit more like the general meaning of going on a crusade. But maybe not. You say, "campaign", and the first things that spring to mind are elections or war.

What about the "Runholders" - with its running rugby and top-dog connotations? Nah, a bit too close to sensitive colonial overtones. The "Musterers", or "Drovers"? Nope, both a bit pedestrian.


Now this shouldn't be too hard. If Frances Gumm can become Judy Garland, Marion Morrison become John Wayne, Reggie Dwight become Elton Hercules John, and Farrokh Bulsara become Freddie Mercury, then this should be a snap.

Or who would have thought "Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation" would morph into IBM? Or "Pete's Super Submarines" into SUBWAY? Or "BackRub" into Google?

So, maybe the "Quakers", or the "Shakers". No, those seismics are still too raw. Besides, some other outfit's already using the Quakers.

Or hey, how about the "Lancasters"? What a terrific tribute to Christchurch's iconic traditional rugby park, laid low by the quakes! Then again, perhaps too reminiscent of Lancaster bombers and war stuff.

I've got it! The "Wizards" - after that crazy guy with the pointy hat and gnarly stick who does wizardy things in the Christchurch Square? Nah, maybe a bit too Harry Potter and kooky kids' stuff.

Bingo! The "Grizzlies"! You know, "Grizz" Wyllie. What an icon for the local region and its rugby renown. Then again, at times "Grizz" got a bit too grizzly in the thick of the ruck. I suppose that's where the nickname came from. So maybe "Grizzly" hasn't got the best role model connotations.

Oh well, luckily it's not our problem. The good people of the region will no doubt decide in their own good time.

Thankfully, for our own rugby team, the Whanganui province has sensibly chosen a squeaky-clean, non-controversial mascot with no negative connotations whatsoever – our much loved "Butcher Boy". As per the WRFU official graphic of Butcher Boy, there's not a sword in sight – all he wields is a harmless meat cleaver.