John Weekes

John Weekes is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Creationists behind 'offensive' pamphlet

Danielle Hayes was shocked to get a racist pamphlet in her letterbox. Photo / Janna Dixon
Danielle Hayes was shocked to get a racist pamphlet in her letterbox. Photo / Janna Dixon

Racist pamphlets horrified a top fashion model when she checked her mailbox last week.

Danielle Hayes, who won NZ's Next Top Model in 2010, was shocked to see a pamphlet equating people of colour to chimpanzees.

"It's been distributed all over Kawerau. The majority of my friends have [received it] too," Hayes said.

The crudely written flyers have shown up across the small Bay of Plenty town. It appeared the material had been downloaded from fanatical creationist websites.

"Are you a racist? You are if you believe in evolution!" the letter states.

"Kids are taught in school that man evolved (changed) from a chimp. So I ask you who changed the most from a black chimp with black hair and brown eyes? A black man with black hair and brown eyes? Or a white man with blond hair and blue eyes?"

People who received the pamphlet should "rip it up and bin it," said Vicki Hall, a spokeswoman for Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres. "The commission's position is that the pamphlet is clearly offensive. However, there is no law that prevents someone from publishing it."

A Film and Literature Board of Review employee said her organisation wouldn't deal with the pamphlets either. "Our act doesn't deal with hate speech. We've had test cases in front of us before and we've had to make that material unrestricted because we don't cover it."

Racist pamphlets were distributed sporadically across New Zealand. Last August, the Right Wing Resistance group distributed pamphlets labelled "Stop The Asian Invasion" in Marlborough. Similar leaflets were found in Christchurch and Hawke's Bay. Reports of creationist pamphlet drops were more unusual.

Creationism disputes the scientific theories of evolution by natural selection that Charles Darwin first developed in the 1800s.

- Herald on Sunday

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