It will be a real "tragedy" if Team New Zealand cannot continue, skipper Dean Barker says.
He made the comment this morning at Auckland airport where a large crowd of fans had gathered to welcome the team home.
Barker said the America's Cup would not be the same without Team New Zealand.
"It would be a real tragedy if Team New Zealand wasn't able to continue, it's very much part of the America's Cup, and I don't think an event without us there would be the incredible event," Barker told TVNZ.
"If Team New Zealand is able to continue, and ideally I hope it does, I would love to be a part of it, but it's not my decision."
Team NZ grinder and Waikato sporting legend Rob Waddell said the team "tried really hard" to bring the Cup home.
"I don't think we could have done any more, we were really committed to it," he said.
"The mood in our camp was good, we were focused and in a really good head space.
"(But) there was a sense of frustration at one or two of the races I think."
crew who have put in incredible hours, we're incredibly proud of what they've achieved for the team and the country."
Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton has said he was unsure if he had the energy to mount another campaign, and the 9-8 defeat to Oracle placed a huge cloud over the team.
The Government, which funded $36 million of the $120m budget this time, is non-committal about future backing.
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce told the team the Government would look at a proposal if it was brought forward, and he believed the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment would look on funding positively.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Were the Chiefs robbed at the New Zealand rugby awards?Related story: (See story)