Rampant racist remarks worry community leaders

Pancha Narayanan

Wellington, May 26, 2020

The leaders of New Zealand’s ethnic communities have appealed to New Zealanders to stand by them on the face of unprecedented racist online and on land attacks since the advent of Covid-19.

This is a scary time for all of us but some New Zealanders are being abused and blamed for the pandemic simply because of our ethnicity.

We are calling on everyday people to stand with us against racism.

Massive increase

The New Zealand Human Rights Commission and the New Zealand Police have raised serious concerns over the increase in race-related complaints during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The New Zealand Human Rights Commission has reported a 600% increase in race-based concerns on social media platforms.

Aotearoa is a strong, Treaty-based multicultural nation, built on the manaakitanga that continues to be shown by tangata whenua to all other New Zealanders.

That is the heritage of all non-Maori New Zealanders. In order to honour that heritage, we ask everyone to find the courage to challenge any behaviour in your physical or online community that reflects racism in any shape or form.

Threats to safety

Like so many Kiwis, we are doing all we can to keep our country safe from Covid-19 but sadly some of us are facing threats to our own safety during lockdown.”

It was not just Asian Kiwis who were facing abuse.

Māori New Zealanders are also facing abuse, whether while guarding ancestral lands or just living peacefully in their home in Ponsonby.

It is not OK. Give nothing to racism!

All citizens of New Zealand have to be vigilant and maintain a zero tolerance of individuals and groups in Aotearoa who relentlessly seize any opportunity to promote their ill-founded racist values through their social networks, in public and in our communities.

Bias and ignorance

This racist behaviour in New Zealand stems from bias, ignorance and our tolerance of intergenerational and systemic racism and it is concerning that our national systems and processes are still unable to eliminate such acts and behaviours in our society.

An appeal is made that clear, unequivocal communication by the government is now urgently required to ensure that New Zealand’s expectorations of the World Health Organisation, China, the USA and other international players to be transparent with the spread of Covid-19, does not contradict with our national drive to stamp out racism in New Zealand.

Urgent steps need to be put in place to ensure that this international stand by New Zealand, as a global citizen, is not allowed to translate to an escalation of racist behaviour and practices within our own borders.

We ask MP from all parties to take a lead by involving Maori and ethnic community representatives in all decision-making processes in this matter, to ensure that we stamp out racism in New Zealand.

Let us make headway by rowing together, let us keep at it.

Let us shift the trajectory of the Waka (Aotearoa/New Zealand) towards a Treaty-based Multicultural Society.

He waka eke noa: We are all in this together. Let us act like it, New Zealand

Giving Nothing to Racism.

Pancha Narayanan is National President, Multicultural New Zealand based in Wellington. Email President@mnz.org.nz

 

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