The Ponsonby community has spoken out in support of a Māori woman who received a racist letter from a neighbour, saying that the letter-writer isn't welcome in the area and urging them to educate themselves on the "whakapapa of Ponsonby".
Vermont St resident Rose Greaves was told her use of te reo is "vile" and "disgusting" and has been told she is not welcome in the area.
Greaves has lived in Vermont St for more than seven years.
During that time, she has been the target of racial slurs and threats.
In the latest attack, she received a letter just before lockdown from one of her neighbours telling her to do Ponsonby a favour and leave.
After the letter became public, residents of Ponsonby sprang to Greaves' defence on social media.
"Who's this racist coward? Putting hate speech in peoples mailboxes," wrote one outraged resident.
Another urged the letter-writer to look at the history of the inner city suburb, specifically its strong Polynesian roots.
"This was written in a way to degrade/humiliate the reader.
"Please educate yourself on the whakapapa of Ponsonby and how you yourself have managed to live here today #dawnraids," she wrote.
Another took aim at the letter-writer's attitude: "Who do you think you are being better than everyone else because you paid top rates and have more money than everyone else? 'We worked hard'. OK neighbour but you really need to be working on something else instead!!," they wrote.
Others said the incident made them feel "ashamed" and "sad".
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"To the female householder, I have been a resident at Vermont St in Ponsonby for 23 years," the letter says.
"Since the time that you have occupied the residence at Vermont St, you have caused myself and my neighbours a lot of upset, to say the least!
"The language and level of vulgar display of disgusting behaviour that you produce is absolutely vile."
Speaking to TVNZ's Marae programme, Greaves said she often spoke te reo to her grandchildren when they visited, as well as friends and family.
She admitted screwing up the letter when she first saw it, knowing immediately that the writer was referring to her being proudly Māori.
"My being Māori, my speaking Māori, my being very proud to be Māori - openly Māori - that's who I am."
The writer also took aim at the taonga, weaving and other handicrafts the grandmother - a traditional weaver - makes and displays in the front of her home.
On social media, Greaves' neighbours rushed to her she was welcome and loved.
"Rose... just keep being you as I know you are loved by your students, your whanau & 99% of your community," wrote one.
When some questioned whether there was any validity to the complaints raised in the letter, a close neighbour spoke up.
"I am one of her neighbours and we don't have any issue with this lovely lady. She is wonderful and kind and has a love for her Māori work she does. We have a guess who wrote this disgusting letter though," he said.
"We don't have any problem with her, she is lovely and no she does not swear or is loud."
'I've been called n****r monkey'
"I've lived here for over seven years and during that time, I've had threats - death threats - from the White Power to burn my house down with me in it.
"I've been called n****r monkey several times. So the letter is quite tame compared to those experiences I've had," Greaves told Marae.
In the letter, the neighbour goes on to describe how they and their fellow neighbours had worked hard and paid top rates.
"You have done nothing," the person wrote to Greaves.
"You're here because Housing NZ put you here. You don't pay any rates...nothing!
"There is a playground across the road yet that doesn't stop your disgusting behaviour. You are an embarrassment to Ponsonby!
"Please, please do Ponsonby a favour and get Housing NZ to transfer you. You are not liked and not welcome here."
Greaves said she would not be leaving her home - a place where her grandchildren and family often visited; as well as her weaving students.
She said she also hoped whoever wrote the letter would one day come and introduce themselves and get to know her.
"I don't want my mokopuna to grow up and be whakamā [shamed or embarrassed] because of the colour of their skin.
"So I feel I have a responsibility to continue what I was taught by my kuia - and that is to have love for everyone."