The Maori Party says Kiwis need to be more aware of casual racism, saying it is still too common in society.
This comes after Sir Peter Leitch's comment to a woman that Waiheke was a "white man's island", and his public relations spokeswoman calling her "barely coffee-coloured".
Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell says the country has come a long way but still has a lot of lessons to learn.
"Now's the time to say 'right, we recognise it for what it is', and do something about it into the future, by just thinking carefully about the statements that are made," he says.
"Sometimes they might have done it for many, many years but the time has come to take stock about those statements that are out of order now."
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Mr Flavell says Sir Peter is not racist, but the incident has highlighted the casual racism in society.