The police were called to an Auckland cafe for a suspected bomb threat after a member of the public got spooked by headphone cables coming out of a turban-wearing Sikh's bag.
Medical student Jaspreet Singh, 21, was meeting his professor about 8.20am yesterday at the Columbus Coffee at Auckland Hospital and walked in listening to music on headphones.
Most New Zealanders are good enough to tell the difference between a Sikh, a Muslim and a terrorist- Jaspreet Singh
He removed them and put them into his bag, before heading to the counter to order a coffee, and then taking a seat in the cafe to talk with his professor.
About twenty minutes later, two police officers arrived and asked him to step outside for a chat, and told him a member of the public was concerned about "a guy with some wires in his bag".
Mr Singh showed them the headphones and they apologised to him before leaving, and he later wrote a post on social media describing his thoughts on the incident.
"I think today's incident was driven by some racial biases, large amounts of ignorance and most importantly, by fear," he wrote.
"A lot of the things that are happening in the world right now are scary. But we can't let fear control our lives."
He later said the police officers were "just doing their job".
"It was quite ridiculous … as soon as they saw the headphones they knew what was happening.”
The incident, he said, had also given New Zealand society an opportunity to talk about “this issue”.
“When I think about people, I think about what their intentions were behind their actions and I think her intentions were definitely good, she wanted to prevent something bad from happening.
“I have no grudge against her.”
Mr Singh said he wasn't interested in naming and shaming the woman who called police, saying he was even thankful to her for raising this issue - but he said not everyone would take it so well.
"Experiences like this can really make people from minorities question whether they belong in our community," he told ONE News Now.
"An individual that is already marginalised and is on the fence- events like these can easily push them over to become extremists.
"Since the Paris attacks people are a bit on the edge - we do need people to keep their fear in check.
"We know that because of these events people are scared - but they can't let fear of these events control their actions."
Mr Singh believes that some of the responsibility for having Sikh culture become more widely understood in New Zealand rests on Sikhs, who need to "get our culture out there and not keep it to ourselves".
"Most New Zealanders are good enough to tell the difference between a Sikh and a Muslim and a terrorist - these are all completely different things," he said.
"It's a shame people are still making that mistake."