Duncan Garner opens up on son's pain at racist taunt

  • 14/11/2017

Duncan Garner has opened up about a racist moment his child faced on the playground that has stayed on his mind for more than a year.

"I wasn't sure whether to talk about this but I'm going to," The AM Show host said on Tuesday.

"Buster, my son, about 18 months ago was at school - and his school is very immigrant, Maori, Pacific - it's white people who are the minority.

"[Buster] goes to go down the slide, and he's Maori so he's quite dark. And this kid says to him, 'you can't go down there, you're black'.

"And Buster knew that wasn't right. So [for] the first time he had a discussion about colour.

"He got upset, really upset."

Garner says he received a text from his wife, who works at the school as a teacher aide, and thought "this makes me angry... my little boy".

"I just couldn't stop thinking about it all afternoon. I don't even look at him and think he's Maori or he's black or he's white... he's Buster.

"My heart started to really just shake."

The Human Rights Commission is adamant the Government needs to put anti-bullying programmes in schools.

New Zealand has the highest rate of schoolyard bullying in the OECD, around 100 times more than some countries.

"It's an absolute disgrace," chief commissioner David Rutherford says.

"We have a problem with violence, abuse and bullying or adults and children and we are failing to address the people we should be addressing first - our children."

Garner says it's taught him an important lesson about the language he uses around his kids,

"You are what your parents are.

"If we are sitting in the car and say 'oh, Asian drivers or Indian drivers or that stupid arrogant da da da', or whatever you say, our kids are parrots.

"So all I'm saying is, what you say matters in the car. What you say at the dinner table matters. Because our kids are all ears and like a sponge they just soak up what you say.

"We need to be the leaders on this."

Co-host Mark Richardson agreed, saying his children started swearing in the supermarket once, "in the way [he] would say it", after hearing him in the car.

"I just thought, oh God."