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.”