While we like to think of ourselves as forward thinking, accepting and modern here in New Zealand, the truth is that racism can still rear its ugly head. What’s most encouraging though, is that there are people willing to fight it.
When a man started calling out racist hatred at two young men who boarded a bus in Petone, Wellington, a clandestine video recording captured one woman’s stand against him.
After the man labelled the youths Islamic and accused them of “shooting innocent people” and told them “Go back to your own country,” one woman decided that enough was enough. She stood up, clapping the young men and said, “Welcome to New Zealand,” before turning around and telling the man to behave.
I really wanted to say something, but I was really afraid.
The woman who filmed the incident didn’t speak up for fear of the man turning on her as she was sitting right behind him and wearing a head scarf. “I really wanted to say something, but I was really afraid. Imagine what he would say to me. He was even threatening to hit [the other woman] and I thought if I said something, he would get up and punch me in the face.”
She went on to post the video on social media and has received an outpouring of support from around the world.
I’d like to thank the woman who had a go at this man spouting hatred
Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy praised the woman who stood up to the racist abuse, saying “I’d like to thank the woman who had a go at this man spouting hatred, she is brave and should be congratulated for taking a stand.”