Corazon Miller is a NZ Herald reporter

Mother says she lost teeth after man punched her in the head for speaking Te Reo

Shona Maiden, with son Johnny, 7, says she lost five teeth in the attack. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Shona Maiden, with son Johnny, 7, says she lost five teeth in the attack. Photo / Jason Oxenham

A single mother says she lost five teeth after she was punched repeatedly in the head by a man who angrily asked why she was speaking Te Reo.

Shona Maiden was heading home after celebrating New Year's Eve with friends at her local bar - 123 Casino Karaoke Bar, in Howick - when she was assaulted, she says.

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A police spokeswoman confirmed they are investigating the assault of a woman, aged 46, outside the establishment in the early hours of New Year's Day.

At the bar's closing time, Ms Maiden, who is of European and Maori descent, said she said "ka kite ano" (see you later) to people who had been standing outside.

The mother-of-four, who lives in Howick, said a man then swore and yelled at her, questioning why a "palagi" would use such words.

Ms Maiden admits she responded, telling the man to "f*** off." He then punched her several times.

The word "palagi", or "palangi", is a Samoan and Tongan word for a person of European descent.

Ms Maiden said the man who allegedly attacked her looked to be of Pacific descent.

While she was a little "tiddly" she said she wasn't drunk when she was leaving the bar.

"The knock to my head sobered me up pretty quickly."

A friend accompanied her to Middlemore Hospital for treatment. She left a few hours later after being given some painkillers.

"I've lost five teeth, my top plate is cracked ... my lip is out there, I can't eat yet," she said. "I just burst into tears when I saw in the mirror that I had no teeth."

Her father, John Maiden, is upset at what happened to his daughter and says he wants something done about safety in the area around the bar. "I'm just bloody angry."

The owner of the bar did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.

A spokeswoman for the Human Rights Commission said: "It's good that NZ Police are investigating the incident. Violence is never okay - and neither is racial abuse."

- Additional reporting Vaimoana Tapaleao

- NZ Herald

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