The other day I was at the supermarket carpark in Mt Roskill and as I drove up to the pedestrian crossing this lady in her thirties, wearing a head scarf was there with lots of shopping. I stopped. That’s when I heard this voice yell out: “Run it over Bro’!”
And you know the thing I can’t get out of my mind is that the poor lady on the crossing turned and stared at me and she was terrified that I was going to do it! Hika ma!
If you could only see her eyes, she was so scared man. I felt so ashamed that a New Zealander thought it was OK to shout that out in public and expect me to go along with it. You know what, I felt whakama listening to that rubbish.
The guy who yelled it out was a young Pakeha guy, he and his mates were standing in a group behind the lady.
I got out of my car and went over to the lady and said “Kia ora my dear, I’ll help you get your shopping to your car.” And I just let the cars behind me wait, I was pretty riled up I tell you.
If that lady was a Catholic nun those guys wouldn’t be screaming at me to run her over, how dare they. This is Aotearoa not America – you don’t get to do that here and expect us to join in: e kao! This is what I’d like to say to them but they just stared at me, turned around and walked off and I hope they felt stink.
I’ve worked in the community and health sector, made friends with people from different religions. I got to know this Iraqi fullah, helped him out a bit. He was a former refugee, I didn’t know a lot of what happened to him. One night I could hear him crying in his room and he had his laptop out and there was live coverage from his home and he was balling his eyes out.
He said to me, “Look my friend they are bombing my city and my wife and three girls are there being bombed.” He asked me to pray for them so I did, a Maori Ratana Christian prayer, then he did his prayer. So praise Jesus Christ and Allah too.
Yeah I reckon those young guys got a shock when I got out of my car and went to help that lady but I thought I’d show them how we should be living our lives instead of getting out and arguing with them.
Actions not words ne ra? Manaakitia ki nga tangata ahakoa ngawai, ahakoa no hea: love and respect other people no matter who they are, no matter where they are from.
This is a Maori way of thinking about people, that is a person on the crossing, another human being. She was so grateful when I helped her I thought she would cry. Just such a little thing to do but it meant a lot to that lady with her shopping.
I’d do it again and I hope my fellow New Zealanders do it also. For me as a Ngati Whatua person, as a mana whenua person: this is about me as an ambassador for my whenua. I will act with mana and dignity.
That other rubbish is not how any of us should be acting. I will say it again: this is Aotearoa, this is not America.