Maori plate shows the face of New Zealand racism

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(Stuff) A personalised plate listed for sale on Trade Me has brought out the ugly side of social networking, attracting an enormous number of racist and offensive comments.

Small-time internet trader Bruce Haliday listed the licence plate “Maori” four days ago for $99,000 and, by last night, the auction had almost 16,000 views and screeds of comments, many of them blatantly racist.

Mr Haliday said he had never expected that kind of reaction to the listing and that the comments were a window into society that was not often seen close up.

The mildest included: “Any maori that can afford this plate stole the monie” and “Maybe donate half the money to a charity to help prevent maoris throwing their babies into walls?”

As of yesterday afternoon, there had been four complaints made about the comments on the Auckland listing, according to Trade Me spokesman Paul Ford.

The seller is doing an awesome job of navigating the comments. It is one of those interesting ones that is an insight into how people tick.”

Trade Me would not step in unless the seller asked for help.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples said the comments represented one of the worst elements in society that people felt they could publish their prejudice without regard of the hurt to others.

This is the dark side of social networking, where people can hide on Trade Me and Facebook and be anonymous while making remarks hurtful to others.”

Mr Haliday has answered dozens of negative comments but said he was still very hopeful of selling the plate. He did not think the price was too high. “My plate is by no means the most expensive. Yet I think it is the most valuable. I bought this plate because I saw value where others didn’t and I am trying to sell it for what I believe it is worth.”

Other personalised plates listed on Trade Me include “Trubo”, with a buy-now price of $314,159, and “Trucky”, with a buy-now price of $300,000.

Broadcaster and former MP Willie Jackson said he would not be lining up to place a bid as he did not need a bumper plate to remind himself of who he was.

There had been no bids by last night. The listing closes on August 9.

4 COMMENTS

  1. It’s called SPAM and WEBSITE TROLLING..everone does it to get hits, or to just be a TROLL..Racism is a joke in 2011. Racism is a Poltical playing car thats used at the last minute. Racism is Beer talk and online jokes sites

    No one cares..everyones on Facebook playing video games!

  2. Yes these comments just show everyone how racist nz really is behind closed doors, these people wouldnt go straight up to a maori and make a comment like that to our faces, yet heros want to plaster it all over the net including facebook, you get alot of these comments on face book. Sad but true about time nz woke up to it, its not maori that are racist, its one word MAORI that caused all these hateful comments how bad is that, i say dont like MAORI go back to your own country.

  3. tell us who wrote that sick comment! id smash there head into the wall and stomp it! and then put a bullet between there eyes. That type of person obviously set out to offend and discriminate! if he\she wants a bloody fight il give it! .. yours sincerely a 21year old

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