A Tauranga student says she was grilled by a potential landlord and given a set of rules because she was Māori.

Reremai Cameron, who is studying social work at Waikato University's Tauranga campus, posted the text exchange on Facebook, stating that she had applied for a private rental online and was questioned about being Māori.

"Just reading your name, are you Maori?" the landlord asked in one text message.

"If so I hope you are aware the rent would only cover you and no friends or family to stay in the sleep out. We had a Māori in our home before whom had multiple family and friend visitors, that is something we will not tolerate."


After posting the exchange online Cameron withdrew her application saying she'd rather pay "$215 a week to some who isn't prejudiced".

The Bay of Plenty Times has attempted to approach Cameron for further comment and the private landlord has removed the Trade Me listing for the room for rent.

Tauranga Rentals owner Dan Lusby said unfortunately prejudice was commonplace.

''It happens quite a lot and landlords often don't want certain types of ethnic groups and that is how it is. Obviously, we disregard that as a business but we have to keep it in the back of our mind.

''We can say we have this perfect tenant they are Māori or Indian or South African but we have to run it past them first. It's about trying to educate these bigots to give these people a chance.''

Lusby said too many children might also be an issue which could be viewed as discrimination.

''It can be quite bad but worse in the private rental sector and to be quite honest they are not breaking any laws because they are not in business.''

Rentals BOP owner Gary Prentice said landlords had the ideal tenants ''they want in their property''.


''They will quite often say we don't want people who have smelly cooking or cook smelly food without necessarily saying Indians. Or we don't want people that are unemployed so it's out there.''

Landlords would choose a working couple over someone with seven kids with a bad credit rating and the same went for animals, he said.

''People with dogs and pets are really struggling and at this stage, the landlords can still say that.''

Landlords would continue to look after their properties ''and this is nothing new, it's always been there and is never going to change''.

''While you have different types of people applying for the property obviously the landlord is going to choose the best type to suit his property.''

Tommy Wilson, of Greerton-based Te Tuinga Whanau Social Services Trust said its service came across prejudice ''on almost a weekly basis''.

''But again we can drown in the war stories of racism or we can do something about it.

"What we choose to do is to turn our tenants that might not have been good tenants in the past into good tenants. That is what the focus should be everybody has the potential but many tenants including Maori and no Maori just don't how to be and that is where we need to focus the attention.'

''Unfortunately, it is the reality of the land that we live in but the good news is we are making progress away from those dark days and we have agents that ring us up and say 'have you got any of those good tenants?'.''

Wilson said Te Tuinga Whanau Social Services Trust could also advocate for people.