A Tongan student discusses the racial abuse she has faced since moving to New Zealand.

A Tongan student discusses the racial abuse she has faced since moving to New Zealand.


I’d never like, really encountered racism
before, I just wasn’t aware of it. I just thought everything was going to be
the same when I moved here but then people started, just these weird things started happening,
and they would just happen and I would have no idea and it took me a while to realise
what it was and then when I did come to realise i was like “oh my god.” Like what? I remember one time it was like really early
on in the year I went on a coffee date with this guy and he was from the all boys school
just down the road, and we went to the coffee shop and we sat down and this was the first
time we’d seen each other face to face he sits down and he goes “oh so you go to this
school right?” and I go “yeah” and he was like “oh cool! Are you here on a netball scholarship?” and
I remember sitting there and being like “I mean I don’t know why you think I would play
any sports at all, I don’t know what it is about me that makes you think I can play netball.” Just little things like that kept happening
and I kept getting confused and it wasn’t until one day I was walking out of the school
gates and this couple was walking in and I wasn’t even like half way out the gate and
I could hear the woman saying “Oh I didn’t know that black people could go here.” and
I remember just standing there and being like oh! so that’s what it is people don’t think
I deserve to be here, I somehow got a free pass to be here. Now you’ve left school what about your experiences
since? Is there something that is really vivid in
you? Obviously I turned 18 when I moved to uni
and we’d start going out to town and my friends and I would be out in town, and I remember
one night we were just in some club on the dance floor and me and my friends were just
like laughing with each other and I remember walking away and going to the bathroom and
there was this guy who was standing there and he looked at me and was like __________. And I was like oh well that’s my night ruined
then, I’m going to go home and cry now and I remember walking out on the street in town
and there was a car full of I assume dudes, they all sounded like dudes, and someone like
put their head out the window and was like “Get back to your f***ing boat” and I was
like, I mean I came here on a plane but okay, cool. I’ve had like so many people who are like
“Oh you’re pretty hot for a black girl.” or “I’ve never f***ed a black girl before.” and I’m just like okay, cool, very dehumanising
but cool. Sometimes I just walk down the street, it’s
always especially at night and people just be like ________ and I still don’t really
know how to process it and talk about it properly, without getting really worked up. My youngest brother he had like an incident
at school with one of his friends. My brother said he told him a couple of weeks
before, this was literally like a couple of weeks two or three weeks after March 15th
and before that he had been telling my brother that he wishes that the terrorist came in
three other people so they could shoot more of the towel-heads. What do you think New Zealand or Christchurch
can do to better ourselves in this, because you’ve experienced something pretty ugly. Teaching people to be more, open minded you
know like you don’t have to come up to me and be like oh my god I’m so sorry let me
kiss your feet, I’m so sorry for all the things that has happened to you, just understanding
what the person next to you might be going through, just understanding, you don’t have
to walk in their shoes but just try and understand what it must be like for them to be in their
shoes.

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