'Asians on NZ ad, God help us'
By Lincoln Tan
Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy says some New Zealanders need to be reminded that New Zealand is a land of many races.
Her comments come after a Kiwi Asian businesswoman was targeted by online trolls suggesting Asians should not be featured on New Zealand advertisements.
"Some New Zealanders need to be reminded that Kiwis come from many cultures, ethnicities and religions," Dame Susan said.
"Kiwis aren't just people who look like they do."
New Zealand-born Deanna Yang, 26, has been running the Moustache Milk and Cookie Bar for the last four years.
She was featured in a Visa pay wave ad, and tagged in an Instagram post, holding up a cookie against her cookie bus in the background.
Yang hit back in a strong blog post following the comments.
One of the comments by a cat-fanatic-is-here said: "Asians on a NZ ad (sic). God help us."
Yang, who is of Singaporean-Chinese decent, said in response to the comment: "Yes, I will pray for you tonight for God to help you that I am on this NZ ad."
On her blog, she described the reply as "laughing at the fact".
Yang revealed that despite being born in Waitakere Hospital, West Auckland, she had been conditioned to accept that being screamed on the streets "Fuck you Asian Cunt" as normal occurrence in her life.
"But, even if I'm used to it, I still do find it (a) amusing (b) interesting and (c) a very good starting point for some rhetoric about an issue we all know is there but often Asian people themselves don't speak about openly," she said.
"I don't know if it's wrong or right that I have been conditioned my whole life to accept strangers on the street screaming at me that I'm an Asian cunt or to 'go home'.
"But truly, after 26 years of it, it is something I have come to accept and simply shrug off when it happens."
Yang said she had come to accept racist comments as a reality of being a New Zealand-born Chinese.
"I have been stopped abruptly in supermarkets in Gisborne - some people having never interacted or spoken to an Asian person before," she said.
"I've been screamed at by carloads of people on more than three occasions in Hamilton ... I have been stopped in car parks on my way to the public toilets by groups of boys to jeer at me.
"Heck, it happened to me right outside my house the other week at the traffic lights through my car window where a guy looked at me dead set in the eye and yelled 'ni hao ching chong'."
Yang said it was "awkward" growing up in a country where, as a child, she was constantly shown that because of her skin colour, she was not worthy to be here and would never truly be considered a New Zealander.
"You live a split identity, neither here nor there," she said.
"But as you grow out of that childlike state of wanting to 'belong', your identity and your roots forge deeper still."