Police are investigating after a Māori woman said she was racially abused and assaulted while out on a walk on an Auckland volcano earlier this week.
Ngahina Hohaia told TVNZ1's Te Karere she drove to Owairaka in Mt Albert for a morning walk when she saw a pākehā woman and her dog leaving a tent being used by the Honour the Maunga protest group, which has occupied the mountain since November in order to protect 345 adult trees.
“When I arrived, she was just leaving the campaign tent and walking back in the gateway with her dog,” she said.
“Her dog was off the leash walking in front of my vehicle and it took quite a while for me to be able to drive up in to the driveway into the carpark."
"So I made the point of saying to her when I drove into the carpark, ‘You need to keep a hold of your dog,’ and her reply to me was, ‘Shut up you black bitch, you disgraceful idiots who go around with those mokos on your face.'
"She wouldn't continue with the racial absue while I had my phone out, then she stepped towards me, she rushed towards me and she hit me."
The Honour the Maunga group has acknowledged the woman signed one of their petitions at their tent, but they claim they do not know her.
CCTV footage is being obtained by the Tupuna Maunga Authority, who represent Auckland's 13 mana whenua, with the authority telling Te Karere they will provide it to police to review.
Police have asked that the public do not take matters into their own hands and let the investigation take its course.
“It was really upsetting for me. There were other people around. There were other people in the car park. There were people at the save the trees campaign tent, and there was no hesitation in her aggression towards me,” Ms Hohaia said.
“I was surprised at that there was no hesitation from her in the way she treated me and how easily she said those things and how easily those actions came from her.”
Safety is now a concern at Owairaka after the public toilet block and carpark were vandalised with racist images during lockdown.