May 10, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Kathmandu staff accused of Racial Profiling

2 min read


A Kathmandu store who is being accused of Racial Profiling after three men had the police called on them.

Three men of Maori descent, who upon entering a Kathmandu store, had police called on them by staff, despite not committing any crime.

Ngawai Rewha told Maori Television’s Te Kaea “never in her lifetime had she come across what she believed to be such blatant racism” which was directed at her 3 nephews this past Wednesday.

She says “My boys walked into the shop before me, then I followed on about ten seconds after, and I heard an Asian man tell the other worker to call the cops, and I thought maybe I was hearing things so I let it go and I looked through the racks, then I could hear the lady giving descriptions of my boys.”

She was confused as to why the police were being called, but it was the shame and humiliation that got to Ngawai the most.

Read: Kia ora offends Queenstown retailer BONZ

She told Te Kaea, the thing for me that made me want to stand up for it is hearing my boys say, sweet as dont’ worry about it, this happens to us all the time.

I don’t want them to ever feel like theyre going to come to a place and look at buying things and for people to make them feel like theyre doing something wrong, theyre not doing anything wrong.”

She left her details with the shop as they left before the police arrived, with the expectation that the police officer would call and she could explain the situation and then an apology would follow, however that wasn’t the case.

The police told me that they told the shop to ring them if anyone looks suspicious or acts suspicious, how can that be right if someone looks the wrong way or dressed the wrong way or skin colour of mannerisms, and youre gonna ring the cops on them, says Ngawai.

Te Kaea made several attempts to talk with the appropriate people regarding the matter from within the Police, but they have not received a response.

However the spokesperson for Khatmandu had this to say;

The CFO of Kathmandu, Mark Todd told Te Kaea, unfortunately in this instance the staff member made a mistake in her approach to Ngawai, and we have contacted the customer and apologised.

Ultimately all Ngawai wants is for this blatant stereotyping to stop happening to her, her boys or any other innocent person.

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