Racist as

NZH: Shopper claims she wasn’t allowed to try ring on because of her race

Moe Lewin, a 39-year-old senior product manager at iHeartRadio, was shocked when a shop assistant at Walker & Hall at the NorthWest Shopping Mall last month told her it was against shop policy to let people try on high-end rings.

The mother-of-three has spoken out about her treatment at a jewellery store following Taika Waititi’s comment that New Zealand was “racist as f***”.

Lewin popped down to the shops last month, leaving her three children at home with her husband, to buy a $450 Meadowlark ring.

As an afterthought she asked about trying on a replacement engagement ring, having lost hers a few months earlier.

Lewin says the assistant told her she had to pay for her Meadowlark ring first and asked Lewin to provide ID before showing her a large diamond ring valued at about $10,000.

But when Lewin asked for a closer look, she says the assistant pulled the ring out and put it on her own finger. She then held it up to her chest to show her.

“I was like I would like to try the ring on and she said, ‘Well you can’t, it’s store policy. Any high-end rings can’t be tried on’.”

Lewin then turned to another assistant to ask if it was correct, who responded “sometimes”.

She asked to speak to a store manager but was told there was not one on site that Saturday. As she went to leave she turned to the assistant and said, “It’s not because I’m a Maori is it?”.

She said the shop assistant stumbled and tripped over her words, before saying, “Oh, don’t say that”.

Lewin said she left the store feeling upset and returned on the Sunday to complain.

The store manager called Lewin on Monday morning to apologise and gave her the distinct impression it was not store policy.

This is once side of a story, and one shop assistant, and it is a perception of racism, not proof of racism.

But it is an obviously disgruntled customer – that’s not good for business.

70 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  April 13, 2018

    How many rings have been stolen by Maori? Seems to be the missing fact from the story?

    • Pickled Possum

       /  April 13, 2018

      Tell us, Alan, how many?? Do you know or are you just having a stab in the dark?

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  April 13, 2018

        No, I am asking the right question, PZ. If the answer is none or not disproportionate to other races then this is clear racism. If the answer is significantly disproportionate then the shopkeeper is entitled to act accordingly. Without the answer the article is just a dog-whistle to whichever prejudice you wish to apply.

        • Gezza

           /  April 13, 2018

          You’re talking to Possum. Focus.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  April 13, 2018

            Oops, yes, sorry Possum. Blame my blocked ear and a bit of vertigo.

            • Pickled Possum

               /  April 13, 2018

              Give yourself a slap-up and unblock that ear hehe
              Vertigo is a sensation of feeling off balance and we can’t have that.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  April 13, 2018

              Yes, off to the Doc now to see if I can get a specialist referral. Been like this for three weeks and it isn’t making me happy.

            • Blazer

               /  April 13, 2018

              your ear was o.k when National were in power..Al…bloody loony left for..you…can you HEAR…me? ; )

            • Gezza

               /  April 13, 2018

              Hmm. Which ear, Al – out of interest?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  April 13, 2018

              Right.

            • Gezza

               /  April 13, 2018

              Maybe you should think about that?
              The Right one is letting you down.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  April 13, 2018

              You were going to throw a line whichever answer I gave. I figured that gave you the least opportunity.

        • Blazer

           /  April 13, 2018

          what are the figures for half-caste ..Al?

    • PartisanZ

       /  April 13, 2018

      Or one might ask “How many rings are stolen by Pakeha?”

      There’s also various types of theft, Burglary, Shoplifting, Theft as a ‘Servant’ or Employee Theft …

      Here’s an extraordinary list of ‘Employee Theft in NZ’ found by searching “Jewelry Theft by Race” … Such categories of crime stats aren’t available as far as I can tell …

      “As the following cases demonstrate, almost all employee fraud in New Zealand is committed by longer-serving personnel (because they have learned how to circumvent procedures) …”

      Of course it goes without saying we can’t assume anything from names … but have a look at the names … and the often breathtaking amounts …

      Some substantial sentences among the ones I read as well …

      http://www.verify.co.nz/news-theftnz.php

      Sorethumb below, my general feeling is that much of NZ’s prison population is rather like the modern-day equivalent of Britain shipping convicts to Sydney Cove for stealing a loaf … and the contemporary equivalent of America’s 13th Amendment ‘slavery by incarceration’ …

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  April 13, 2018

        That is exactly what I am asking. Is there a reasonable basis to conclude Maori customers are higher risk than others?

  2. sorethumb

     /  April 13, 2018

    They make up 50% of the prison population. The shop assistant was not prejudiced.

    • Gezza

       /  April 13, 2018

      Show me stats that prove people trying on rings make up 50% of the population.

  3. Ray

     /  April 13, 2018

    She as only having a look “an afterthought “, no mention on how she was dressed and if she was wearing it running shoes.
    Remind me which race fills our prisons and despite the claim that just proves the whole system is racist my observation of the system suggests if you do the crime, you will do the time. And if you are poor and brown you will definitely do the time.
    So do you hand a $10,000 ring to someone like that, depends.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  April 13, 2018

      It would depend upon the person’s general appearance. If someone’s buying a cheap ring and asks to try on a $10,000 one….

  4. Comments are racist as.

    • lurcher1948

       /  April 13, 2018

      “Comments are racist as”.Sorry PG people see things as they are in reality

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  April 13, 2018

      Seem to be rational to me.

  5. Griff

     /  April 13, 2018

    42% of crime….12.5% of the general population.
    You want to reduce risk?
    Go for the easy targets first.

    Comments like this will get one labeled a white supremacist.
    Repeating facts.
    Ergo.
    The facts are supremacist.

  6. sorethumb

     /  April 13, 2018

    A book shop near me made me give them my back pack as they had books stolen. next time – nothing. I should have complained it was because of my race (Aryan Master Race?AMR)?

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  April 13, 2018

      I see that backpack sign in a lot of places.

  7. sorethumb

     /  April 13, 2018

    When people say NZ is racist as they only mean whites.

    • Gezza

       /  April 13, 2018

      No they don’t. There are racists in Pakehadom & Maoridom here. Everybody knows that except the racists themselves. Luckily there are bugger-all of them & the rest of us do our best to be fair, try to understand each other & get along, and don’t listen to or like the bigots.

      • Callum

         /  April 13, 2018

        Taika in his follow up confirmed his original comments referenced Maori racism as well, however the media have not taken this up in their stories. That is what is probably upsetting a lot of people. New Zealand is not racist, yes it does have racist people and they come in all colours and shapes. Your average NZer does not go around judging people on skin colour.

        • Gezza

           /  April 13, 2018

          Spot on. Well said.

        • Pickled Possum

           /  April 13, 2018

          True Callum … copy and paste from his twit feed

          Taika Waititi

          Verified account

          @TaikaWaititi
          Apr 9
          More Taika Waititi Retweeted paul le comte
          This is a great thread. Thanks Paul.

          Also, and this wasn’t in the interview, YES there are racist Maaori. Many in my family too. It’s everywhere. That’s the damn point.

          • PartisanZ

             /  April 13, 2018

            That doesn’t suit the assumpti-conjecture, opine-news industry we are all engaged in …

            If people are going to be reasonable we’ll have nothing to rave and rant about on here!

            • Gezza

               /  April 13, 2018

              Awe … come on, PZ … some of us still could … 😉

  8. Griff

     /  April 13, 2018

    It would be valuable to explore why Maori are over represented.
    Colonial oppression?
    How did Maori behave before colonization?
    Did individual property rights exist for Maori before colonial times?
    No.
    Power dictated the right to your possession.
    if someone more powerful desired what you had they took it .
    That worked for anything from basic food to land.
    That culture no longer is fit for the modern world were you have the right to the fruits of your labors.

    Our collective what we call goveremnt uses force to ensure our rights .
    The power is held by us all in what we call democracy. Power is shared equally among us in the flawed process of the democratic vote. Though democracy We give our individual share of power to what we call government.
    In this way we are all equally powerful when it comes to property rights .
    The Power in modern culture is owned by us all Not by the biggest thug in the tribe or the tribe with the strongest force.

    • PartisanZ

       /  April 13, 2018

      Well … Griff … That’s an awfully ‘nice’ description of democracy as we don’t know it … as some people maybe believe it existed “once upon a time” …

      But speaking of “the biggest thugs in the tribe or the tribe with the strongest force” …

      You’re not a government with all-powerful corporate-capitalist-elite knives held to your throat and guns pointed at your head …

      All done very ‘nicely’ of course, with as much ‘sophistication’ as possible: “Overseas Investment” … “Business Confidence” … “A possible Downturn” …

      • Gezza

         /  April 13, 2018

        It’s not that. Griff still labours under the white supremacist illusion all Maori are still smoking heads of captives in battle other & selling them to whalers & traders.

        • Gezza

           /  April 13, 2018

          Oops – try that again. Sorry Griff.

          Griff still labours under the white supremacist illusion all Maori are still smoking heads of captives from other iwi in battle & selling them to whalers & traders.

        • Griff

           /  April 13, 2018

          ROFL
          Try to construct an argument not dribble gezza
          You can do it mate .
          Polish up the old bone carving and give it a go.
          Else my view of you is not better than my view of the likes of Dave.
          Did Maori have individual personal possessions pre contact ?
          What did the early settlers think of Maori attitude towards goods that were not theirs ?
          Did this result in any conflict?
          As I made the effort a few years ago to read extensively the pre 1840 written works about New Zealand I know the answers.
          Do you?
          Do you understand the difference between culture and race and why racism should never be invoked over a discussion about culture ?

          • Gezza

             /  April 13, 2018

            I think you’re a worth a read on some issues but you’re incredibly arrogant & horribly lacking in self-awareness, Griff. We’re living in 2018 now. You’re tarring all Maori with still having ideas about private property from pre-colonial times.

            • Griff

               /  April 13, 2018

              I said construct an argument and you come back with

              A straw man is a common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while actually refuting an argument that was not presented by that opponent. One who engages in this fallacy is said to be “attacking a straw man.”.

              Give the bone carving another polish and try again.
              Refute my argument not one you made up .

              I don’t tar all Maori.
              Just those that seem to have no respect for the personal possessions of others .

            • Gezza

               /  April 13, 2018

              You don’t have an argument. You have a rant. About pre-colonial Maori, from something you have read that supports the preconceived view you already hold. Then you throw out some insult about bone carvings because you get nasty quickly when you’re criticised. And then you expect to be taken seriously as having an academically superior approach to being narrow-minded that defeats all others ?

            • Griff

               /  April 13, 2018

              In other words you have no constructive argument at all.

            • Gezza

               /  April 13, 2018

              In other words, It’s 2018. Maori aren’t living in pa any more.
              White kids down here steal from my local Indian shopkeepers, not just Maori – I asked him. The causes aren’t their culture. It’s their parenting. Or lack of it.

              Don’t pretend you have some intellectually superior approach or argument to justify your racial prejudice. YOU have no constructive argument at all.

              So don’t come the raw potato with me. Crawl away. I’m done with you on this issue again.

          • Gezza

             /  April 13, 2018

            Do you understand the difference between culture and race and why racism should never be invoked over a discussion about culture ?
            QED.

          • PartisanZ

             /  April 13, 2018

            There’s one or two minor problems with all the pre-1840 written works about pre-european Maori …

            They were all written by Pakeha … therefore post-European!

            So someone like Elsdon Best could at once leave us his ‘record’ of early-contact Maori, claiming it to be ‘The Maori As He Was’ … and stain their name with his tainted prejudice, doing enormous damage at the same time …

            http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-BesMaor-c6-6-1.html

            It seems personal adornment and clothing were considered private possessions insomuch as a money-less society can have such things …

            “Prized ornaments, such as plumes and valuable greenstone pendants, were kept in small boxes called waka huia and waka kautuku. These boxes were often adorned with carved designs exceedingly well executed.”

  9. Gezza

     /  April 13, 2018

    I’ll let the usual Maori bashers & white supremacists have a bit more of a say first. Then I’ll see who needs an earful later. Maybe have a word with some of the worst ones individually.

    • Trevors_elbow

       /  April 13, 2018

      Awffuuullly big of you Gezza….. you should do guest posts…. I cant believe how right you are!

      • Gezza

         /  April 13, 2018

        😳

        Thanks Trevor. I need all the support I can get :/

        Not everybody was as appreciative as you. 😦

  10. Blazer

     /  April 13, 2018

    ‘ showing her a large diamond ring valued at about $10,000.’…try and sell it after you buy it for 10k!’diamonds are forever…..’biggest con since…Christ.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  April 13, 2018

      Maybe. What sanctions did the shop assistant face if it was stolen by her customer?

  11. Alan Wilkinson

     /  April 13, 2018

    Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient evidence. Evolution has programmed us to be good at it. Those who weren’t, died.

    We use all available clues to decide what is a threat and what is not. Appearance is a big one, and racial characteristics are a part of that. So racism comes down to understanding what threats differing races are perceived to pose to each other and whether these perceptions are realistic or not. It also means judging whether individuals are given a fair opportunity to prove themselves despite those perceptions.

    • Pickled Possum

       /  April 13, 2018

      Well said, Al 😉
      In saying that I myself have been judged by my brown skin in many different instances some completely wrong some right. I pride myself in being honest but admit to tasting the odd grapes instore for sweetness. I have been the victim of theft and it left a ‘yuck feeling’ in my stomach for quite a while. It also made me distrust a certain race of people till I meet a new friends wife, who I might add has the SOH close to mine. Meeting this woman made me realise what an ass I have made of myself and my opinions and judgements of this certain race. It did have an almost cleansing revelation for me.

      The majority of adults convicted are Maori 41% or European 37% Pacific Peoples 9%

      https://www.justice.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Publications/Adult-infographic-June-2017.pdf

      Justice has changed the way they report offences ie alcohol
      the drops in convictions come from amendments to the liquor laws

      https://www.justice.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Publications/Conviction-and-Sentencing-1997-to-2006.pdf

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  April 13, 2018

        We holidayed in the UK once with a couple who were our close friends. There was one occasion when we were disgusted by racism shown to one of them. Of course it happens. The perpetrators are best avoided as damaged goods. I also worked in London for 3 months once and found racist attitudes in professional circles much worse there than here. Maybe the class system aggravates it there, but as a colonial it was a bit weird to find I got on with everyone in the group but some of them wouldn’t talk to the others.

  12. Chucker

     /  April 13, 2018

    So she got a $450 ring for free because of some perceived victim-hood? Who needs to Theif these days, have a bit of a cry and say the R word.. a word as only owned by those in the know like the N word, and terrified people while just hand it over.

    Don’t need Guns either.. note for future um.. shoppers.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  April 13, 2018

      Since she can afford a $10k ring for her finger I presume her life hasn’t been entirely blighted by racism in NZ. Likely the shop assistant she pilloried has not been as fortunate.

  13. Pickled Possum

     /  April 13, 2018

    Hope this isn’t perceived as sexist.
    Is a woman a higher risk in fraud cases?
    https://admin.noted.co.nz/currently/crime/high-profile-fraud-cases-committed-by-new-zealand-women/

    • Callum

       /  April 13, 2018

      Yes. Generally speaking middle aged white woman, trusted employee is the profile of your average business fraud.

  14. MaureenW

     /  April 13, 2018

    What a load of codswallop – talk about snowflake territory.

    Just as well we have a Race Relations Commissioner – call her!

  15. Pickled Possum

     /  April 13, 2018

    How did the yummy Afghan get its name?

    Golliwog dolls — named after a blackface minstrel-like character in Florence Kate Upton and Bertha Upton’s 1895 book The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg.
    Is/was golliwog racist?

    Are the Eskimo lollies and ice cream pies we all enjoy still today, are they racist?

    Was Billy T James Racist when he made a joke of how to speak Japanese.

    Many Maori thought Billy was racist …
    “Inevitably, some of the jokes upset the PC brigade for being racist, specifically against Maori (never mind the other nationalities that got lampooned, too). James had to defend himself again and again over many years, to his ever-growing irritation at these pointless accusations. He even had to cope with death threats.”
    https://www.noted.co.nz/archive/listener-nz-2009/billy-the-kidder/

  16. sorethumb

     /  April 13, 2018

    Notice how the left throw racist around. They are seeing much more of something than most people. For instance not wanting Maori wards is “racist”. In which case it is racist not to accept a reality which elevates Maori beyond everyone else? It becomes about not accepting a set of ideas.
    Another example: identity politics where the whites have privilege and are the oppressors. Speak out against that and you are a “white supremacist”

    • Gezza

       /  April 13, 2018

      What are you talking about? Wanting Maori wards is racist. Remember? Supposedly.

      • sorethumb

         /  April 13, 2018

        people who reject the idea of Maori wards have been called “racist”?

        • Gezza

           /  April 13, 2018

          People who propose them have been called “racist” too.
          Shit! How does that happen? 😳

          • sorethumb

             /  April 13, 2018

            People who propose them have been called “racist” too > the institution proposed is claimed to be racist whereas the opposers (themselves) are deemed racist.In other words two different ideological algorithms.

            • Gezza

               /  April 13, 2018

              Fuck! What to do, what to do …
              💥 I know – let’s accuse the OTHER one of racism 👍🏼

  17. PDB

     /  April 13, 2018

    Woman goes in to buy $450.00 ring, as an ‘afterthought’ decides she wants to take a look at a $10,000 ring. Not sure if it’s racism by the shop assistant or the shop assistant being cautious due to the situation appearing dodgy or figuring the woman was just a time waster.

    • MaureenW

       /  April 13, 2018

      Gee, didn’t you read the sad story. No, she was not given unfettered access to try on the right because she was Maori.
      Myself, I would have no issue with being asked to pay for an item first, nor being asked for id to try on a $10k ring.

      The racism jibe comes from the complainant – is it because I’m maori?

      “Lewin says the assistant told her she had to pay for her Meadowlark ring first and asked Lewin to provide ID before showing her a large diamond ring valued at about $10,000”
      ….”She asked to speak to a store manager but was told there was not one on site that Saturday. As she went to leave she turned to the assistant and said, “It’s not because I’m a Maori is it?”.

  18. phantom snowflake

     /  April 13, 2018

    Great piece on the trials and tribulations of being both Samoan and gay in New Zealand:

    “As a Samoan kid who grew up poor, gay and unfortunately brown in the sense that he couldn’t pass as palagi, or “straight-acting” meant that mainstream New Zealand couldn’t house me neatly within a heteronormative ¼ acre backyard.
    And by a cruel double-whammy of transnational migratory colonial trickery, Samoan diaspora society wouldn’t house me either. The pulpits of their magnanimous churches may have been lined with bricks that were paid for by the sweat and blood of my forbearer’s factory money, but there was no room for deviant sexual identities like mine.”

    http://www.thecoconet.tv/coco-talanoa/guest-writer/reflections-from-the-intersections/

  19. sorethumb

     /  April 13, 2018

    Anti racism is the new (illiberal) religion