Christchurch-based rugby club The Crusaders are to consider a name change in wake of the mass shooting at two mosques in the city on Friday that left 50 people dead.
The Crusaders adopted their name 23 years ago when rugby went professional but the link has been made between the name and the medieval religious wars between Christians and Muslims since the attacks.
The club, nine times winners of New Zealand
's Super Rugby competition, defended their name in a statement issued on Saturday but said a 'conversation would be had.'
The statement read: 'In light of recent events in Christchurch, we have heard some comments around the Crusaders team name.
'Like all New Zealanders, the Crusaders team and organisation are deeply shocked by this tragedy and our thoughts are with the victims and their families.
'This is bigger than rugby and we're absolutely heartbroken for our wider community, which is where our thoughts are.
'In terms of the Crusaders name, we understand the concerns that have been raised. For us, the Crusaders name is a reflection of the crusading spirit of this community.
'What we stand for is the opposite of what happened in Christchurch on Friday; our crusade is one for peace, unity, inclusiveness and community spirit.
'In our view, this is a conversation that we should have and we are taking on board all of the feedback that we are receiving, however, we also believe that the time for that is not right now.
'Emotions are very raw and real at the moment. There is the need for this community to wrap our support around those who are most affected by Friday's events, and that is the immediate focus for the Crusaders team.
'At an appropriate time, we will thoroughly consider the issues that have been raised and our response to that. That will include conversations with a range of people, including our Muslim community.
'This team and the wider organisation are united with our community in standing against such abhorrent acts as that which occurred on Friday in Christchurch, and in standing in support of our Muslim brothers and sisters.'
Crusaders chief executive Colin Mansbridge also said the club would acknowledge the feedback received.
He told TVNZ: 'The first thing for us is things are still fairly raw. We're in a state of shock. We'll acknowledge the feedback we've had. It is appropriate.
'In the context of what's happened it is pretty hard to sort of elevate this conversation at the moment.'
Their Super Rugby fixture against the Otago Highlanders in Dunedin on Saturday was cancelled following discussions with the police.
The third cricket Test between New Zealand and Bangladesh was also cancelled after the visiting team almost became caught up in the mass shooting at the Al Noor Mosque.
White supremacist Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged over the attacks on Friday, which claimed 50 victims. A further 34 people are in hospital receiving treatment for injuries including severe gunshot wounds.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her cabinet would discuss gun reform policy on Monday.