'Tauranga's not racist' - poll of residents

By Kelvin McDonald
Photo/ File

Tauranga residents are not buying Te Pāti Māori's claim their city is racist, according to a Newshub Nation-Reid Research poll released on Saturday.

That is despite Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi citing examples of Tauranga-related racism in May, after the party refused to stand a candidate in the local by-election for safety reasons.

“Kaore te Pākeha e kai ana i te Pākeha. Ko tōna kai, he Māori. Wāna nei hoki.”

“Pākeha aren't attacking Pākeha, they're attacking Māori - the cheek of it,” Waititi said.

Back in April, leaflets were delivered to Tauranga residents bearing messages such as 'Save the White Race'. Rāwiri Waititi said that is the tip of the iceberg

“Te tahuna i te tahi rau rima tekau marae. Me te whakamate, kōhuru i te nui o ngā rangatira Māori i roto i o rātou kāinga, nō roto o Tauranga hoki, Pāpāmoa”

“A threat to burn down 150 marae and kill off Māori leaders in their homes - that person was from Tauranga, Pāpāmoa,” he said.

The Newshub poll found that more than half of residents (52.1 per cent) rejected the claim Tauranga is racist. 

However, almost a third (31.9 per cent) agreed it is.

12.3 per cent neither agreed nor disagreed and 3.6 per cent didn't know.

In June 2020, longtime Tauranga city councillor Andrew Hollis told Te Ao the blatant racism some Māori claim to have experienced is not true. 

"In general, we treat people pretty damn well, to be honest," Hollis said.

However, Māori leaders spoken to at the time by Te Ao told a different story saying they had experienced racism in Tauranga their whole lives. 

"Well, he obviously lives in a very different world to the one I live in here in Tauranga. I mean I would have an encounter every week which has some element of racism attached to that," Buddy Mikaere told Te Ao.

"Maybe I'm over-sensitive to that particular view, if you walk into a bank, or if you walk into a shop, if you walk into a car sales, you walk into anything else," Peri Kohu said.