A US couple who recently moved to Aotearoa is reeling after an alleged racist attack in Palmerston North at the weekend.
The couple, Keauna and Constantine, who moved to Palmerston North in November, were walking home from the cinema on Saturday at 11pm.
In a TikTok video posted on Sunday, Keauna, visibly emotional, said three people began yelling “gang member, gang member, they must be a gang member” at her.
“Immediately I knew they were talking about me, but I needed confirmation for that.”
Keauna said she and Constantine walked further up the street before one woman allegedly said “oh that’s a n****, that’s a monkey”.
“And [she] started making monkey noises.”
Keauna said she and Constantine turned around and the group of five were laughing.
“[An] older man, once we turned around got prepared to fight, took his sunglasses off. Basically was just like ‘keep moving’ or whatever.”
She claims the man began attempting to intimidate and threaten Constantine.
In the TikTok video, Keauna alleges the older man said “you haven’t seen angry yet and once you really see angry you’ll be going in an ambulance”.
“We are literally just walking down the street having a good night,” Constantine said.
“They were like ‘we’re having a good night and you had to turn around’.”
Constantine said they both did research before moving to Aotearoa to ensure they weren’t “coming into a place with this sh**”.
“Yeah you can’t avoid it anywhere,” he said.
“We lived in a racist state in the United States and we never experienced anything like this ever,” he emotionally told his TikTok followers.
Keauna said she hasn’t experienced the egregious level of racism in the United States that she allegedly faced on Saturday.
“This blatant racism just like right there in front of you and people really having the nerve to do that.”
Constantine said the Saturday night incident isn’t isolated and “we’ve been experiencing weirdness” since arriving in Aotearoa.
“[People are] looking at me with ‘you’re not supposed to be here’, ‘you’re disgusting, ‘you’re not a person’. That’s how they are looking at me,” Keauna said.
“It’s really kind of hard to deal with it, it just makes you angry.”
The couple’s TikTok video, which has been viewed over 160,000 times, has thousands of comments from Kiwis apologising and supporting the couple.
“I live here in Palmerston North and I am terribly sorry this happened to you two,” one user said.
“I’m so sorry you went through that. The smaller the town, the smaller the mind,” said another.
One user suggested the couple move to south Auckland “we’ll help you. We’ll befriend you. We’ll protect,” they said.
“I’m so sorry this happened to you here. I’m so embarrassed and ashamed,” another user commented.
The couple reported the incident to police. A police spokesperson confirmed this was reported to them on Sunday evening, so enquiries are in the early stages.
“We appreciate the complainants are very shaken and Police will be looking to identify those involved so we can establish what has occurred,” the spokesperson said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Police on 105 quoting file number 230305/5639, or alternatively you can visit your local station.
Watch the full video above.