A Dunedin dairy has removed golly dolls from its shelves after a backlash online.

The move comes amid a series of Black Lives Matter protests around the world, sparked by the alleged murder of African-American George Floyd by a white police officer in the United States last month.

Willowbank Dairy had reportedly been selling golly dolls for six months, but yesterday removed them at the request of a group of students.

Golly dolls first appeared in children's books in the 19th century, inspired by blackface entertainers - people who painted their faces black and lips red to imitate a black person, often as a caricature.

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A Human Rights Commission spokeswoman previously described the dolls as ''racist caricatures that dehumanise black people''.

A Willowbank Dairy employee, who declined to be named, said students had come in and requested that the golly dolls be removed.

He said the woman who made the dolls had been doing so for more than 50 years, and there had been ''no complaints up until now''.

The golliwogs would no longer be for sale, he said, but declined to comment further.

University of Otago student magazine Critic reported a Willowbank Dairy employee saying the store had been selling homemade golly dolls for six months, and that anyone outraged ''are the racist ones''.