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NZ Rugby fills health and welfare roles

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/10/2016

Wellington Rape Crisis agency manager Eleanor Butterworth is moving to New Zealand Rugby in a health and welfare role.

Butterworth, who has also worked for Wellington Women's Refuge, will take up the position of respect and responsibility project manager in November.

NZR says she will lead the organisation's programme to "enhance the skills and knowledge of healthy relationships across all levels of the game".

It also announced the appointment Joe Harawira as manager of RugbySmart, an ACC initiative to encourage positive health and welfare across all rugby.

General manager of rugby Neil Sorensen said the two roles were critical to NZR's commitment to safety and welfare in the game.

"The programme we've developed over the past year with the support of ACC will target safety initiatives aimed at coaches, referees and players," he said on Thursday.

There was also be "a tailored programme with an emphasis on respectful relationships, including consent, sexual assault and violence prevention".

Rugby's image has been tarnished in recent months by a series of off-field incidents, including the Chiefs stripper saga, the outcry over former Wellington wing Losi Filipo's discharge without conviction for assault, and All Black Aaron Smith's tryst with a woman in an airport toilet.

Two weeks ago, NZR confirmed it was proceeding with an independent review of the culture within the sport, with appointments to the panel to be announced.

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