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HRC praises Auckland mum for speaking out

HRC praises Auckland mum for speaking out about humiliating treatment

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy has praised an Auckland mother of four who went public after humiliating treatment by staff at The Warehouse.

Irie Te Wehi-Takerei was wrongfully accused of shoplifting at The Warehouse near Auckland Airport recently.

“Irie did nothing wrong and was publically humiliated by staff. Even when it was clear she did nothing wrong, she had to ask for an apology,” said Dame Susan.

“This is not good enough. While it’s positive The Warehouse eventually made amends, it’s disappointing that they only did so because of Irie’s own determination.”

A month ago Hamilton woman Rikki Cooper was racially profiled while shopping at her local Countdown store . Irie says hearing what Rikki went through helped her make the brave decision to go public with her own story of humiliation.

Dame Susan urges organisations and companies like the Warehouse “to do the right thing and to train their staff about how to treat people with respect: it’s not much to ask.”

“It is up to individuals. Everyday New Zealanders need to ask themselves: am I treating these people with respect? Would I want my mother or child to be treated like this?,” said Dame Susan.

“It’s not an easy thing to go public about being belittled and shamed. We should be very grateful for New Zealanders like Irie and Rikki who tell their stories because they do so on all our behalf.”



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