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'Striking' new poll indicates vast majority of Kiwis want Crusaders to keep their name

More than 75% of New Zealanders are against the Crusaders changing their name in response to the Christchurch terrorist attacks, according to a new 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll.

Following the March 15 attacks on two Christchurch mosques that left 50 dead, concerns have been raised over the Super Rugby franchise's usage of imagery referring to the medievel Crusades - a series of relgious wars that pitted Christians against Muslims.

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The Super Rugby franchise is also looking at giving the team’s name the boot as well. Source: 1 NEWS | Sky

So the latest poll asked eligible voters: "Following the Christchurch terrorist attack, do you think the Crusaders rugby team should change their name?" Most answered "no", with 76% against a change.

Fourteen per cent supported a name change and 8% were unsure. 

"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.

The groups of people who were more likely to believe the Crusaders should keep the name included those living in Otago and Southland, National Party supporters and people aged 18-29.

Earlier this month, NZ Rugby boss Steve Tew said the organisation is considering a name change for the team.

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There has been pressure for the team to change their name after the Christchurch terrorist attack. Source: 1 NEWS

"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.

Read more: NZ Rugby says Crusaders name and branding 'no longer tenable' in wake of Christchurch terrorist attack

"Maintaining the status quo in terms of the Crusaders name along with the current imagery of knights on horseback is, in our view, no longer tenable."

However, business strategist John Durning said he disagrees. 

"The horsemen have been integral for 13 years now - no other super rugby team has that consistency and quality," he said. "And if you strip that away, you take away a lot of brand equity they've built up over that time."

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Over 10,000 people have already bought tickets for Saturday's game against the Brumbies. Source: 1 NEWS

The team have stopped using horses and horsemen since the attacks, and any further changes would be introduced next season.

Between April 6 and 10, 1009 eligible voters were polled via landline and mobile phone. The maximum sampling error is approximately ±3.1%-points at the 95 per cent confidence level.

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The 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll was conducted as the rugby franchise considers a change in the wake of the Christchurch terrorist attacks. Source: 1 NEWS