Racism continues to show its ugly head in New Zealand, according to an outpouring of emails from Kiwis sharing their stories of being at the receiving end of abuse.

The stories came to light as many Herald readers showed their concern at how a Henderson resident was told "to go back to China" when she asked two women to stop feeding birds at a popular Auckland park.

Serena Sun's experience prompted Avi Jayapuram, a Kiwi with Indian heritage, to also tell how he was left shaken after being yelled at to "go back to his country" while in a West Auckland school carpark.

Jayapuram was in Lincoln Heights Primary School's carpark with his son when a woman banged her car door into their vehicle.


"I don't think she realised she had banged my car really hard, so I basically looked over and said, 'Could you please be a bit gentle while opening your door'," he said.

"To that the woman said; 'So what if I hit your car? Can't you see I'm dropping my kids off, what are you going to do about it?'," Jayapuram said.

He said he got out of his car to diffuse the situation, but the woman came close to him, while her partner warned him not to "talk to my missus".

She then launched into a racist tirade, telling Jayapuram to "go back to your country".

"I said; 'Excuse me, this is as much my country as it is yours'," he said.

He said the woman's partner started taking his jacket off as if he wanted to fight.

"He then asked me to get back in the car and started to push me, to which my wife got out of the car," Jayapuram said.

"Then I decided to call the police because it was getting out of control, and I was worried it would turn into a brawl."


The abusive woman next jumped on to Jayapuram's car boot and sat there with her feet up, saying: "OK, let's see what the cops do".

The police told Jayapuram they would send a unit if one was close by, but that it would be better if he went to the police station.

He said he waited in the carpark and then noticed his daughter had already finished her lessons but was too afraid to come to the car after watching the altercation.

Then when the family began to pull out of the carpark, the woman's partner chased after their car.

"He tried to yank the door open, but it was locked," Jayapuram said.

He said he is scared of seeing the pair again next weekend when he drops his children at their lessons.


He also worries about the impact of racism on his children, saying his son has also been abused.

"He was abused at a soccer game and spat at by another boy, he said, 'Go and get some curry' or something to that effect," Jayapuram said.

"As a family we do a lot for the community, we are very involved with the church, we've been here 16 years, my kids have grown up here."

"We are Kiwi," Jayapuram said.

Police confirmed they received a call yesterday morning about an incident in the "school carpark on Keegan Drive".

"I understand there was no damage to the car but allegedly the occupants of the car that hit the other car were being intimidating and verbally abusive," a police spokesperson said.


Police said the victim planned to report to Henderson station to make a formal complaint.

Jayapuram's experiences were echoed by emails sent from a number of Herald readers, who we have chosen not to name to protect their privacy.

This included one woman, who told how she was on a train to west Auckland when another woman turned to her and said in a "very bad" way: "You brown people go back to your own country".

"I replied that this is my country and she yelled back, saying, 'No this isn't, you brown people deserve to go back to your country'," the woman wrote.

"I felt insulted and disgusted as the train was full of people as I was travelling during peak hours and to my surprise no one even tried stopping her from what she was doing."

The woman said the abuser continued yelling at her until she got off at Sunnyvale station.


Another Herald reader said racism was not just against Asian migrants.

"We are from the UK and we have been told to go back England - we have been here 25 years," the woman wrote.

One man wrote in saying he had been in New Zealand for more than five years and faced casual racism a few times at his work at a large multinational company.

The racism came from two colleagues but what was most alarming was that when he reported it to management "nothing really happened", the man said.

"Management's comment was, 'It depends upon how you perceive it'," he said.

"I am so disheartened by their response, that I have started looking for a new job already."


Another woman recalled walking down a road with a friend in the mid-1990s when some people yelled at her friend to go back to where she came from.

"Her looks could've been mistaken for Asian but, ironically, her mother is Pakeha and her father is Māori," the reader said.

"Both of us grew up in the town and lived within 2km of the area [we were walking in]."

"Racists are ignorant."

Another man, meanwhile, wrote in to say he was part Samoan but didn't let other people's racism affect him.

"I grew up in NZ knowing that a few white people stood back because of the colour of my skin," he said.


"[But I didn't really give] a damn because there were bigger things in my life to deal with."

"I've done OK in life by not giving space to people of any race or colour that don't deserve the oxygen they breathe."