Woman claims she was racially profiled while jewellery shopping

Woman claims she was racially profiled while jewellery shopping
Photo credit: LinkedIn/ Moe Lewin

A Māori woman believes she was subject to racial profiling while out shopping for jewellery in Auckland.

Moe Lewin went to Walker & Hall at the NorthWest shopping mall in Massey last month to buy a $450 Meadowlark ring, and while she was there she decided to try on engagement rings to replace one that she had lost.

But the 39-year-old, a senior product manager at iHeartRadio, told NZME that a shop assistant said it was against shop policy to let people try on the most expensive rings.

She was told she had to pay for the Meadowlark ring before seeing the diamond engagement ring she had requested, and was asked to provide ID before she was shown the ring.

The shop assistant put the ring on her own finger, and when Ms Lewin asked if she could try on the $10,000 ring the assistant said it was against store policy.

She was suspicious about whether that was true, and then she noticed a security guard standing by the door looking at her.

Before she left the store she asked the assistant: "It's not because I'm a Māori is it?"

Ms Lewin returned the next day to complain, and she later received an apology from the store manager.

She asked to speak with the store owner but after not hearing back for two days she returned the $450 ring.

"I thought hell no I'm not spending $450 in your store when you've treated me like that," she told NZME.

She said she and her partner were financially comfortable and could have bought the engagement ring.

The owner of the Walker & Hall store since offered Ms Lewin a refund for the Meadowlark ring, which she accepted.