A woman living in one of New Zealand’s most expensive suburbs has been targeted in a racist letter written by someone claiming to be a neighbour.
Rose Greaves (Ngāti Kahu and Ngāpuhi) has lived in Vermont St, Ponsonby, for over seven years.
During that time, she’s had white supremacists threaten to burn her house down with her in it, and been verbally abused.
Just before lockdown it happened again – an ugly anonymous letter.
"You are an embarrassment to Ponsonby!" the letter, which she revealed to TVNZ1's Marae, read.
"Not to mention the rubbish items you put in your front yard is pathetic and vile.
"Please, please do Ponsonby a favour and get Housing NZ to transfer you.
"You are not liked and not welcomed here."
She said the letter was quite “tame” compared to previous incidents, but still disturbing.
It was clear to her what this latest attack was about.
“My being Māori, my speaking Māori, my being very proud to be Māori,” she told Marae.
Rose hasn’t been shy about showing her support for Tino Rangatiratanga and tikanga outside her council house.
She is a weaver from the north, who was taught by her kuia, and proudly passed it onto younger generations.
“I make treasures of ancient times. This knowledge is sacred, passed down and is very special to me.
“When I weave, I’m transported back to the time of our ancestors.”
She says racist abuse has continued through lockdown, but she isn’t going to stop what she’s doing, as she doesn’t want her moko to feel like they have to change the way they live.
Ponsonby, now so expensive, was once filled with cheap housing and Māori and Pasifika.
It is also seen as liberal and inclusive, a tag not reflected in the letter which Rose received.
“Myself and my neighbours have worked hard our whole lives. We pay top rates. You have done nothing.
"You’re here because Housing NZ put you here. You don’t pay any rates, nothing!"
Rose said she’d like the chance to talk to the letter writer.
“Come and talk to me, I’m a really nice person, you might actually get to like me if you talked to me.”
Rose’s friend, Steven Hassen, said the writer carried a bit of “shame” as they didn’t put their name on the letter.
He told Marae Rose was a brilliant person with lots of mana
Rose said she didn’t want to be angry about the situation.
“I was brought up by kuia… I have lived experience of what aroha can do to people, for your whānau, for your mokopuna.”