Renae Maihi, the filmmaker who was sued for defamation after calling Sir Bob Jones a racist, said today that she welcomes Sir Bob's surprise mid-trial decision to drop the case.
"This has always been about highlighting the harm and impact that racist language has, both now and historically," she said in a statement issued just hours after the case was dropped. "It is important for us all to remember that language and articles of this nature, whether intentional or not, can and do cause hurt.
"It is important too that those on the receiving end of racism have an opportunity to express their feelings."
Ms Maihi said while she, and many others, had strongly disagreed with Sir Bob's use of language about Māori, they "can disagree with him without being rude about him as a person".
She also asked people to "keep this in mind when posting on social media".
Sir Bob had accused Ms Maihi of damaging his reputation by calling him racist and setting up a petition to strip him of his knighthood.
The petition was in response to a column the property investor wrote suggesting Waitangi Day be replaced by "Māori Gratitude Day".
Four days of the defamation case played out this week in the High Court at Wellington before the case was dropped this morning.
Sir Bob said in a seperate statement, after it was confirmed the case had been dropped, that while both parties in the case "may never align on what is acceptable humour", he contended that "no malice was intended by either, thus it is sensible to put an end to proceedings".
Ms Maihi, in her statement, thanked "the 90,000 people who signed the petition, the many people who donated to the Givealittle campaigns, the hundreds of Kiwis who turned up in person this week and the countless messages of support".
"This brings an end to a stressful period of my life but that said, I hope the conversation about racism in this country will continue, in the most dignified manner possible.
"I have always believed and continue to believe in what was written in the petition. Given the outcome today, I intend to close the petition.
"I send a message of strength and aroha to everyone who has taken an interest in this kaupapa. Kia kaha tātou katoa."