Jack Pere, 20, of Ngāpuhi, who is currently unemployed reached out to Happy Horticulture yesterday morning after discovering a job advertisement on Jora Jobs.
He says he was denied the job from the director, named Happy Roomi, for being Māori.
The text conversation
In a text message to the director of the Te Puke based company, Pere wrote, “I and a friend are keen to start some kiwifruit work and was wondering if there were any spots for two more people to start as soon as possible”.
In response, Roomi asked if the pair had any experience in the kiwifruit industry. Pene replied "no experience but fast learners".
Roomi then asked, if Pere "belonged to the Māori community." Pere replied "yes".
Roomi said in the text conversation, “Sorry I’ve had a bad experience with Māori workers, most of them yelling, fighting and not listening to supervisor.”
Pere said "sweet as" and did not reply after that.
Screenshots of the text conversation between Jack Pere and Happy Roomi / Source: Jack Pere
Pere told Te Ao, that at the start, he never thought too much about it. “I was a little bit gutted but it was on my mind all night and so I posted it up on Facebook and before I knew it, it was everywhere."
Pere says that finding a seasonal job has been difficult this year for him.
“It’s weird this season, you know, normally I can pick those jobs up from anywhere. For some reason this time, I’m s*** out of luck.”
Pere claims that this was an act of racial discrimination and the result of him being Māori.
“I’m Ngāpuhi all day, it’s just guttered I wasn’t even given a chance as I was only enquiring,” Pere says.
Response from the company
Te Ao asked Happy Roomi via Facebook Messenger for his side of the story.
Roomi says, “I already messaged [Pere] and said sorry five or six times. It was never in my intention to be negative toward any community. The same question is asked when filling in the forms when applying for the job: What is your ethnicity? I know this isn’t looking good, he feels hurts and I feel sorry."
In a text message to Pere, Roomi said, “I’m afraid of people fighting in the workplace. I want a peaceful mobile place.”
Pere says he appreciates the apology but he says it’s not right.
“After he said sorry, he said I should come out to his orchard today to meet all his crew etc. I think in there he tried to offer me the job again.”
However, Pere is considering seeking legal advice for this issue.
“I am seeking legal advice on where to take this matter further. If I’m being really honest with you this is all new stuff to me. I never even knew where to start.”