New Zealand's race relations commissioner Joris de Bres has written to the South African Rugby Union urging them to allow the Maori team to play the Springboks.
The match, ear-marked to be played in Soweto in early June, is under threat as Saru considers a President's Council ruling that prevents national sporting teams from playing against racially selected teams.
But de Bres says he has "no problem" with the concept of a Maori rugby team in New Zealand.
He believes the Maori side has the support of the New Zealand community.
Here is his letter ...
Dear Members of the SARU Board,
I am writing to you in response to media reports this morning that the South African Rugby Union has a policy that may prevent the Springboks from playing the New Zealand Maori team in Soweto later this year because of a President's Council resolution forbidding the appearance of SARU teams against opponents selected along racial lines.
As New Zealand's Race Relations Commissioner I appreciate why such a policy would have been adopted, particularly because of the racial discrimination in sport that existed in South Africa under apartheid. However, there is no such discrimination in New Zealand: people of all ethnic backgrounds are eligible to play in New Zealand's national, regional and local representative teams, and alongside that, consistent with the principle of freedom of association, people are free to play together in any other combination.
The New Zealand Maori rugby team has a proud history in New Zealand and has the support of the community as a whole.
As Race Relations Commissioner, I have no problem with the concept of a Maori rugby team, or a European rugby team, or a Chinese rugby team, as long as our national, regional and local representative teams are open to people of all ethnicities. This is ethnic diversity, not racial discrimination.
I would urge you to proceed with the proposed game between the Springboks and the New Zealand Maori Rugby Team in Soweto. I am sure it would be welcomed by the people of Soweto, the people of South Africa and the people of New Zealand.
Joris de Bres
Race Relations Commissioner