An AUT University investigation into an election poster complaint has found that allegations that they are racist and aggressive in nature are not supported by evidence.
The complaint had alleged posters showing candidates who call themselves "Modern Day Panthers" was linked to an American civil rights group the Black Panthers, and two students said it had made them feel unsafe.
The poster also showed two students showing clenched fists salutes, which the complaint claimed were the "black power salute" linked to the American group.
AUT Student Association's returning officer and general manager Peter Hoskin said it received a complaint on September 25 alleging the posters created by Sisifa Lui and Mariner Fagaiava-Muller were "aggressive" and "racist".
"It is our finding that the 'salute' depicted in the posters is modelled off the Polynesian Panthers salute," Hoskin said.
"The Polynesian Panthers are a revolutionary movement founded by New Zealand-born Polynesians on 16 June 1971. They are a group credited with fighting racism against Pacific people in New Zealand, and putting them on the map politically."
Hoskin said the work of this organisation, which included political activism, running food co-ops and homework centres, advocating for tenants and promoting Pacific languages - had been credited as a forerunner for modern-day community activism.
"The values of the Polynesian Panthers are not dissimilar to the values of AUTSA," Hoskin said.
"The allegations therefore that the campaign posters are racist or aggressive in nature are not supported by evidence, and we have therefore decided to allow the posters to remain as they are."
In a statement, candidates Lui and Fagaiava-Muller said the Polynesian Panthers were founded on the subjection to racism by the NZ middle-class.
"Our people are those that faced racism. We continue to face racism. The dawn raids, when first-generation Pacific Islanders were gentrified away from their inner city ghettos so upper echelon lifestyles in Ponsonby, Grey Lynn etc, could thrive as they do today," they said.
Voting for AUT's Student Representative Council (SRC) is now on, and the campaign will carry on until the ballot closes next Friday, October 11.