A Wanganui woman claims she was refused service and forced to leave a city dairy after being mistaken as a gang member because of a T-shirt she was wearing.
Vilia Ngawaka says she will lay an assault complaint with police and write to the Human Rights Commission over the dairy owner's actions.
Police said they had not yet received a complaint from the woman.
Ms Ngawaka works at the Wanganui Riverboat Centre and on Saturday was heading home when she called into the Dublin St Dairy to buy a sandwich and a drink.
She was wearing a red and black striped T-shirt. "I had just grabbed the drink and was standing in front of the shelf that has cakes, slices and usually sandwiches on it."
She heard the owner of the dairy saying "no gangs, no gangs" and wondered who he was talking to. She was trying to get her cellphone to work when the owner walked over to her.
"He snatched the drink out of my hand and put his hand over my phone and spun me round towards the door and told me to leave."
She said she was subjected to the worst type of prejudice because she is Maori and was wearing supposed gang colours. Red and black are colours associated with the Mongrel Mob.
"I am a good citizen, I work hard, I follow laws and regulations and I bring my daughter up with a healthy respect for the law and justice, this simply is wrong. I was in tears outside the shop. He had embarrassed me in front of a shop full of children and their parents it was so awful."
After leaving the dairy, she walked to the Shell Service Station about five minutes away and asked if she could use the phone because her cell phone wasn't working and she needed a friend to pick her up.
When she got home she changed her T-shirt and, taking the red and black one with her, returned to the dairy to ask the owner why he had kicked her out.
"He said he didn't understand, yet I know he recognised me," Ms Ngawaka said. "I'm so embarrassed by this whole incident and angry because I didn't even get the decency of an apology. All because of some stupid notion that every Maori who wears red and black, or blue is gang-related. He made me feel like a criminal when all I did was wear a red and black striped T-shirt into his dairy."
Ms Ngawaka is adamant she wants an apology.
Yesterday, the Chronicle visited the Dublin St Dairy and asked to speak to the owner. Someone claiming to be the owner's son said he didn't understand when asked how the owner could be contacted.By Lin Ferguson of the Wanganui Chronicle