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The Human Rights Commission says it is taking Ngapuhi activist David Rankin's complaint about one of its staff members "very seriously".

Mr Rankin alleges the staff member wrote derogatory and potentially defamatory comments about him on her Facebook page.

"In the latest example, the staff member wrote on a public page 'David Rankin - pokokohua! I can't wait to tell him to his face!' This translates as wanting to boil my head, which is one of the most offensive statements any Maori can make to another Maori."

In his letter, Mr Rankin said the behaviour amounted to hate speech and brought the entire commission into disrepute.

A commission spokesman told NZPA Mr Rankin's letter arrived today and chief commissioner, Rosslyn Noonan, had asked the commission's executive director to investigate and report back to her by next Friday.

Earlier this week, Mr Rankin said the hikoi opposed to the Government's Marine and Coastal Area Bill brought shame to Maori and should be called off.

The hikoi would have no impact on the passage of the bill and protesters should focus on helping quake-ravaged Christchurch instead, he said.

- NZPA