A Kiwi claims he was racially targeted by the police after being pulled up for questioning when he got off a bus in Tauranga last week.

Mau Tofa said he was asleep for most of the trip on board the Intercity bus, and was shocked to see police waiting for him when he got off the bus - so he started filming.

"I'm thinking, wonder what's happened, so I get my luggage, and out of the 20 passengers, me - the only brown skin - they decided to pick me to question," he said on Facebook. "Never questioned anyone else."

"What's this all about?" he asks police in the video. "I was asleep on that bus. I don't know what's going on."


While he was asleep, police say an "extremely distressed" woman made allegations of threats, prompting the bus driver to call for police assistance.

"On arrival, police were directed to a man of interest, and this man was identified as the person talking in the video. On investigation, it appears that he was not involved in any threats made," police said in a statement issued to the Herald.

Later in the footage filmed by Tofa, it shows the bus driver alerting the police that they had the wrong person.

Police said they spoke with Tofa to clarify what "may have gone on".

"In our day to day business, police receive numerous calls for assistance where those who are identified as possibly being able to help us are spoken to."

Tofa shared the footage on Facebook and it has since been viewed more than 100,000 times.

"I felt embarrassed- because there were heaps of people on the bus and the police just wanted to talk to me.

"I was the only brown one with tattoos. There were other people on the bus of other ethnicities and they didn't question them."


He said it was the first time he had been questioned by police in such circumstances, but since uploading the footage to Facebook he has received messages from other Kiwis who say they have experienced racism from the police in Tauranga.

"It was just unfair they come straight to me because of my tattoos, when they are looking at people they are looking at the wrong things, they are supposed to look after us."

Tofa said the bus company called him to apologise for the incident.

"My daughter was supposed to come with me on the trip. I'm just glad she wasn't there with me."