Auckland woman left 'shaking and shivering' after man's alleged racial abuse

An Auckland woman wants to spread awareness after experiencing a verbal racial attack.
An Auckland woman wants to spread awareness after experiencing a verbal racial attack. Photo credit: Getty.

An Auckland woman says she was left "shaking and shivering" after being confronted with racial abuse last week.

Shalini Wadhawan, a resident of Blockhouse Bay for 17 years, told Newshub the abuse began shortly after she mistakenly took a carpark a man was lining himself up for. She was on the way to a medical clinic.

Moments later, Wadhawan says she saw the car pull up across the road and the person inside appeared to start yelling at her.

"He put the window down and started saying you f-word that, you f-word this, you Indian people."

Wadhawan says because of the traffic noise, she couldn't exactly understand what the man - who she describes as elderly - was trying to say.

"I knew he was very grumpy... I thought maybe it just wasn't his day today, we lost the match," she laughed, referring to New Zealand's Cricket World Cup defeat.

Wadhawan says she decided to give the man the benefit of the doubt and continued on to the clinic.

She saw the man later walked into the waiting room, so Wadhawan decided to ask him what she had done wrong.

"He said that I had seen him reversing into the carpark, which I didn't realise because he was in [a] disability carpark already.

"There was no indication he wanted to park there."

He then allegedly told Wadhawan he didn't "have time for all this bulls**t".

"He said to me… he doesn't like Indians."

Wadhawan says she walked out of the clinic and the man started to follow her. She started to feel scared.

"I started shaking and shivering... I didn't look back, but I could hear the footsteps."

Wadhawan went and sat in her car and the man eventually moved on. She says the incident has left her feeling "very shaken".

"He could have said to me 'you took my carpark, you made me upset'. Instead, he said he didn't like Indians. That hurt me," she says.

"I have lived in this country for 17 years, in the same suburb. I have never felt that anyone wasn't welcome here."

Wadhawan decided to write about her experience on a public Facebook group as she wanted to spread awareness of this type of verbal racial attack.

Many commenters were sympathetic and appalled by the behaviour.

"Stand tall, you have as much right being here as he does. Don't allow his comment to go too deep, remember he is the one with the problem, not you. There is no place in the world for this form of abuse," one person wrote.

Wadhawan says she is thankful for all of those who offered their support.

"Those who have suffered the same situation - I can completely understand their pain. Let's create awareness and keep our community safe and a great place to live."

Police were making follow-up enquiries to identify and speak with the man involved.

"New Zealand is a multicultural society and we implore everyone to treat each other with respect," Insp Grant Tetzlaff said.

The medical clinic, which Newshub has decided not to name, confirmed it was aware of an altercation.