It was reported recently that the head of a local iwi organisation Ray Hall and his wife Busi were leaving Whanganui, to take on a new challenge in Wellington.
It came as a shock to some given the couple had only moved here from Auckland 18 months ago when Ray took on the role of chief executive of Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui.
But what did not make it into that story was the real reason behind their departure, which is sure to disappoint many of us in the community.
Busi, who was born in Zambia and raised in Zimbabwe, had been working in a public facing job where she dealt with customers every day.
In any case, one afternoon at Majestic Square Busi told me they had decided to leave because they simply could not keep dealing with the racism in this city.
She told me she had been subjected to underhanded and overt racist remarks where she worked.
She described it like this: "Some of the obvious ones are where people refuse that I serve them, some instances are where people openly say derogatory things about me to my colleague. My colleague gets the brunt of it because some people won't say it directly to me, but they will to her."
On the list of what she faced working in Whanganui was regular snide remarks, rude looks, violence - her workplace even had to abruptly close one day after one incident. It wore her down to the point where she would just try to ignore any racist remarks and get on with it.
But she should not have to just get on with it.
This racist behaviour is unacceptable, and I am dismayed at the fact that this is how members of our community are choosing to treat people of colour.
What is worse, is that Busi has lived in Aotearoa for 24 years in cities like Auckland and Wellington but has never experienced this level of racism.
Busi told me it was painful "because the one thing I always question myself is that they are just being hurtful because of the colour of my skin.
"It blows my mind that people can be so open with their racism. It is something I would expect in South Africa, I did not expect to deal with it in Whanganui," she told me.
This is even more relevant in the wake of the stabbings that took place at Countdown in Dunedin on Monday.
The supermarket chain general manager, Kiri Hannifin, told media there had been a significant increase in public aggression against staff since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"I really want to capture the terrible verbal abuse that our team receive, especially the racism," Hannifin told TVNZ.
Retail workers have since spoken out about experiencing racism on the job and the hard toll it is taking on them.
One supermarket worker in Hamilton said she had gone home crying one day after a customer threw a basket of tins at her and was racist.
I should not need to say this but racist attacks on people who are just doing their job is disgusting, and it is clearly a problem festering away in our very own city.
While Busi does not work in the supermarket sector, the attacks against her were almost daily, to the point where she could sense when customers were about to make a racist remark. It put her on constant edge at work, and that is no way to live.
Is this really how we welcome people to our city?
Busi's husband Ray is naturally furious about the way members of our community have chosen to treat her.
Ray was a Māori boy growing up in Christchurch in the 1980s and is no stranger to experiencing racism.
Before he left he told me he was angry about it because it wasn't a one-off – but an ongoing culture of racism.
What is even more concerning is that in the short 18 months of their time here, Ray too noticed the divisions that exist within Whanganui – something I have tried to highlight with my columns to date.
Ray told me he believed Whanganui was a racially divided town and said "that reflects in the dealings I've had with different people in my role and different organisations but certainly in the experience Busi has suffered".
I have come to know Busi as an incredibly caring, empathetic, beautiful woman and the number of people here who made judgments based on her skin colour reflects poorly on our city.
I completely understand why Ray and Busi have decided to leave and I support their decision, but know that we are the losers here.
It is not easy to bring highly qualified and skilled people to relocate to Whanganui.
They were invested in the growth and wellbeing of our community, and we made them feel so unwelcome that they left.
Well done, Whanganui.
Disclaimer: Leigh-Marama McLachlan works for Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui