A Tauranga Māori woman who was left shocked by a landlord quizzing her over her name says she has had other offers of accommodation.

Reremai Cameron, who is taking a break from studying social work at Waikato University's Tauranga campus, received a text from a prospective landlord, grilling her over her Māori name and telling her that guests were not welcome.

"Just reading your name, are you Maori?" the landlord asked in one text message.

"If so I hope you are aware the rent would only cover you and no friends or family to stay in the sleep out. We had a Māori in our home before whom had multiple family and friend visitors, that is something we will not tolerate."

Advertisement

The private landlord has removed the Trade Me listing for the room for rent and did not respond to the Bay of Plenty Times' attempts at contact before deadline.

Cameron had heard friends and family had been discriminated against due to having a Māori name but this was the first time it had happened to her.

"I was pretty disappointed but apparently it's not uncommon," Cameron said.

If she could say anything to the landlord, she would tell them to not expect the next person to rent their room to be like their previous bad tenant

"And definitely don't expect everyone of the same ethnicity to be the same."

However, she did feel landlords were picky for "good reason".

"There's definitely been a lot of rental properties that had been trashed because of other people not respecting them."

She had received a mixed bag of public reaction after posting the texts online and news stories popped up about the incident.

Some people were supportive and told her it had also happened to them.

On the other hand, people had messaged her to tell her to stop "complaining" and "pulling the race card".

Cameron would live with friends until she found a place. Thankfully, she had received room offers from people who had heard about the incidents.

A Human Rights Commission spokesperson said it was unlawful under New Zealand human rights law and tenancy law for landlords to treat any person differently on certain grounds.

"Those grounds include race, colour, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and disability ... so a landlord must not filter or reject potential tenants based on any of these unlawful grounds."

The same law applied to private landlords as well as rental agencies.

Juli Anne Tolley, president of the Tauranga Property Investors Association, said the landlord clearly needed guidance on what was acceptable, both legally and morally, to query.

"It is neither fair nor legal to refer to the ethnicity of an individual. That should have no place in a conversation between a landlord and applicant.

"However, the landlord could simply state that overnight guests are not permitted."