Originally published by Māori Television
Cathryn Baragwanath (Ngāti Hine) is the owner of Cafe 39 Gillies in Kawakawa and says she is representative of what's going on for hospitality workers across New Zealand - and it's getting out of hand.
"We've had small attacks daily and we can withstand those. But daily attacks when we ask for the vax pass is not on."
The 46-year-old, who came out as lesbian 30 years ago when she was 16, says she has never experienced homophobia previously, particularly in her own Far North community of Kawakawa.
In an interview with Te Ao Māori News, she said she and her wife, Olive Brown, have run the cafe for six years and on Sunday their sexuality was used in an attempt to kick them down.
"I felt ashamed, I felt like I was 16 and coming out again. I felt paru being gay - all over a vaccine pass," she said.
In an emotional video posted to the cafe's Instagram page, she outlined her frustration and is looking at ways in which she can protect herself and her staff.
She has lodged a complaint with the police and is hoping this process will offer some reprieve.
"If I had Jacinda [Ardern]'s number, I would have rung her and said, 'I'm going to give them a coffee - it's not worth the attack."
In Northland, 83 per cent of the eligible population has been vaccinated but, for Māori in Te Tai Tokerau, it's 73 per cent. Although Baragwanath says she supports the efforts to get people vaccinated, it comes at a cost.
"We support the kaupapa. We understand that we need to have safe communities. But on Sunday our lives were threatened, our livelihoods were threatened.
"We've been bombarded, even for our business on Google review. We didn't know how to report that to Google."
Although Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins didn't have advice to business owners experiencing these issues, he did have a message for patrons at his press conference today.
"We're heading into Christmas, relax, be kind and be understanding.
"Cut our hospo a bit of slack - they're doing their job. It's a tough job, it's been a tough couple of years for them, so embrace the festive season," he said.