Adorate Mizero, 20, identifies as being a Kiwi-African but says despite having lived most of her life in New Zealand, she is still frequently viewed as an "outsider".

"As a young black person I'm not seen. I'm seen to be an outsider, like I don't belong here."

Mizero spoke to the Herald ahead of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission Diversity Forum being held in Wellington on Thursday, where its first anti-racism digital campaign is being launched.

Running under the mantra "That's Us", it will provide an online, moderated platform, where people like Mizero can share their experiences of racial intolerance. The HRC hopes over time it could also provide data to help it assess the issue of racism in New Zealand.

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"As a young black person I'm not seen. I'm seen to be an outsider, like I don't belong here."

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Born in Tanzania, to Burundian parents, Mizero first arrived in Auckland as a refugee at the age of 3.

Seventeen years later the media studies student was still constantly asked; "Where are you from?"

"Instead of a greeting, people automatically assume I'm an outsider before giving me a chance to introduce myself."

But Mizero said New Zealand was home.

"I'm a local of Auckland; of course my parents have instilled in me Burundian values and culture, so I do strongly identify as being African [too].

"It's been a balancing act trying to know the different expectations from the two different cultures. I get to take the good from each culture and embrace that."

Former refugee Adorate Mizero who is working on a film project where she is interviewing Kiwi teens about racism. 25 August 2016 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Dean Purcell.
Former refugee Adorate Mizero who is working on a film project where she is interviewing Kiwi teens about racism. 25 August 2016 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Dean Purcell.

To give others like her a voice, Mizero has been working on a series of documentaries, titled Resettled New Zealand.

Her work will be featuring in an episode to be aired later this year on TV3's Both Worlds programme.

Mizero's subjects, all of whom came from refugee backgrounds, had experienced some form of cultural or racial intolerance while growing up in New Zealand.

"A lot of them feel like they aren't being seen as New Zealanders solely on the basis of their appearances."

In a snippet of her work Mizero's interviews spoke of their experiences of racism; one had a classmate refuse to speak to her upon discovering she was Muslim, another was regularly told her English was "pretty good for an African person", while another spoke of her frustration at constantly being held to account for the actions of Islamic State.

Dame Susan Devoy from the Human Rights Commission. 18 March 2015 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Dean Purcell.
Dame Susan Devoy from the Human Rights Commission. 18 March 2015 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Dean Purcell.

It's these experiences of "casual racism" Human Rights Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy wanted to tackle.

"Every year around 400 people make formal complaints to us about racism they've faced.

"However, we know the overwhelming majority of people never complain ... when a car drives past and the people in it scream a racist obscenity ... or when shoppers are racially profiled while out with the kids."

She said the That's Us campaign would help give a platform for these people to share their stories and give the HRC a better understanding of racism.

Dr Chris Sibley has been looking at some of these attitudes as part of a 20-year longitudinal study at the University of Auckland's school of psychology; New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study.

He said trends from the study, which is now in its seventh year, indicated Muslim and Asian New Zealanders experienced higher levels of prejudice than any other group.

Sibley said the reason for this was a couple of "inaccurate" perceptions.

"When you look at prejudice toward Asian New Zealanders it tends to be predicted by perceiving competition and when you look towards Muslims New Zealanders it tends to be predicted by perceiving a threat."

Sibley said there was still room for improvement - but it wasn't all bad news.

"Prejudice is going down, it's a small change, but it's in the right direction, in terms of talking about what New Zealanders are like, we are becoming more tolerant and less racist."

From Thursday you can share your story here: