A New Zealand weightlifter has left the Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea after offending locals with social media posts suggesting they were cannibals, a PNG sports official said Tuesday.
New Zealand officials had distanced themselves from the athlete, Douglas Sekone-Fraser, PNG Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko told Port Moresby's National newspaper.
"It was their decision to send him home... after social media got hold of his comments about PNG being a country of cannibals," he said.
New Zealand media reported that Sekone-Fraser's two offending posts appeared on Instagram over the weekend showing pictures of traditional PNG dancers and the opening ceremony with the hashtag #cannibals.
They have since been deleted.
New Zealand Olympic Committee spokeswoman Ashley Abbott said that the weightlifter had apologised for the inappropriate comments.
"We took it very seriously. We've formally and unreservedly apologised to the host nation and other competitors at the Pacific Games," she said.
The Pacific Games are a multi-sport event held every four years.
The event is being hosted in PNG, a sprawling nation where black magic, sorcery and cannibalism have been known to occur.