NZR apologises to Black Fern for 'systemic failings'

Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate [C] has thanked New Zealand Rugby for its investigation and is pleased to be moving forward positively Catherine Ivill - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images

New Zealand Rugby has issued a public apology to Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate more than six months after the national women's hooker complained of suffering a mental breakdown following alleged criticism from her former coach Glenn Moore.

A social media post by Te Kura in December triggered an independent cultural review which found New Zealand Rugby (NZR) had failed to sufficiently support the women's high-performance programme.

NZR said on Tuesday it had concluded a "mediated restorative process" with Te Kura.

"NZR has formally apologised directly to Te Kura and her whanau (family) for the experiences that led to a decline in hauora (wellbeing) for her.

"NZR has taken responsibility for the systemic failings that led to this decline."

Long-serving Black Ferns coach Moore was originally part of the mediation process but resigned while it was ongoing, saying he did not agree with "misleading allegations" made against him by Te Kura.

Wayne Smith and Graham Henry, who guided the All Blacks to a men's World Cup triumph on home soil in 2011, have since joined the Blacks Ferns coaching team.

Te Kura thanked NZR on social media for "engaging and acting".

"Together we got there," she wrote. "I'm on the mend, enjoying my footy again with a free spirit ... Free to be me - stand up, speak up, know your worth."

NZR said it was committed to ensuring Te Kura received the appropriate "mental wellbeing and training support" to help her with her recovery.

"NZR further reiterates its acceptance of the Review's recommendations ... and to ensuring that the Black Ferns will strive to deliver a performance culture and environment that is safe and rewarding for all."

The Black Ferns began their preparations for hosting the Women's World Cup with a 23-10 win over Australia in the Pacific Four tournament at Tauranga Domain on Monday.