Kiwi golfing star Lydia Ko has made an emotional social media post offering "thoughts and prayers" to the families of the recent spate of violence towards Asian Americans - including six women's deaths.
The former number one ranked female golfer posted a statement to her Instagram page yesterday following the killing of eight people in massage parlours in the US city of Atlanta on Wednesday NZT.
"The recent rise of violence, and discrimination towards Asians is absolutely frightening and heartbreaking," Ko wrote.
"Especially during tough times, we should be uniting more together and support each other. I am proud and honoured to be a South Korean born Kiwi, and the violence that's going on right now, is simply NOT OK."
Ko was born in Seoul, South Korea, and immigrated with her family to New Zealand as an infant.
The 23-year-old now resides in the US city of Orlando, Florida.
A wave of attacks on the Asian community in the US have been reported since the coronavirus entered the country in 2020.
Six of the eight people killed in the shootings in three Georgia massage parlours were women of Asian descent.
"I pray for the day where we love one another for who we are, and don't discriminate depending on their gender, ethnicity, color, language and culture.
"My thoughts and prayers are with the families who have lost their loved ones, and also to each and every one affected by this hatred.
"Be kind. Spread love. Stand together. #StopAsianHate
Several Georgia Democratic lawmakers of Asian descent held a press conference at the state Capitol to denounce crimes against members of the Asian community, including the recent killings at Atlanta-area massage parlours.
State Rep. Sam Park said Asian Americans over the past year have experienced a "surge" in attacks due to "racist political rhetoric and scapegoating."