Wellington candidate 'appalled' by racist graffiti attack on his sign

A Māori Wellington political candidate says he is "appalled" by the mindless, racist vandalism of one of his election hoardings.

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Troy Mihaka’s hoarding had his authorisation statement written in Te Reo Māori, and someone wrote “English” over the top. Source: Supplied

Troy Mihaka of the Integrity New Zealand party said his hoarding in Miramar was defaced some time on Sunday, with a person writing "English" in large letters over his sign.

The authorisation statement on his hoarding is written in Te Reo Māori - "he mea whakatairanga nā".

Mr Mihaka said he was alerted to the vandalism by a member of the public yesterday, and had to spend an hour and a half and "three bottles of Jif" removing the spray paint.

"To see something like this happen, it's just appalling and a shock - it's not a community that I would expect this to happen in," Mr Mihaka said.

"It looks like they just showed up with a spray can but then it became a targeted attack about the use of te reo."

Other signs nearby had also been vandalised - but none of those featuring Māori politicians had received the same treatment.

Mr Mihaka said Miramar had always been a welcoming, inclusive community and he was heartened by members of the public who offered to help him clean off the graffiti as they walked past.

Asked if he had a message to the person who wrote on his hoarding, Mr Mihaka said: "If they want to speak English so badly, England is a couple of plane flights away and maybe he they could consider getting on one.

"This is New Zealand in 2020, this isn't the 1950s anymore," he said.

"Te reo is our national language and it needs to be celebrated - the majority of New Zealanders use te reo words when they speak - thats what New Zealand English is - the combination of both languages.

"I'm really hopeful that this is a one-off."