Miriama Kamo’s reaction to the Seven Sharp story on New Plymouth’s departing mayor Andrew Judd…
“Seven Sharp ran an excellent story on Andrew Judd this week, it was an enlightening piece of journalism and a vital one. Andrew Judd says he’s a recovering racist; he changed his worldview, and then fought for what he believed was right. He got spat on for his efforts. The comments made after that story, upset many, including me. Here’s just one example of what it is to be Maori – I once lost a job because I corrected the boss when he mispronounced my name. It was my first day there and I could see he was unimpressed with my gentle correction. I worked my butt off for the rest of the day to impress. The next morning when I arrived to work he told me I wasn’t needed anymore. When I asked why he said it was because he didn’t like my attitude. He walked to the back door, opened it, held my paypacket outside and told me to get out. I was devastated. Fired over my Maori name.
Recently, as a whanau member and his wife moved out of their rental property, the real estate agent suggested to the landlord, in earshot, that he consider getting the house tested for meth. I was there. They are a professional and honest Maori couple with three young children. Like most Maori, I have lived with casual and sometimes deliberate racism my entire life. But when we use a powerful prime time television platform to dismiss blatant racism in our community, in my view, that’s unacceptable.
So, here’s my reaction to Andrew Judd’s story. I don’t know you, or what you’ve done really apart from this one thing. But this one thing is important. You tried to be a force for good, your efforts were heroic, but you’ve been worn down by persecution. I’m sorry for what you’ve been through. Andrew Judd, thank you for trying.”