Customer claims she was kicked out of Vodafone store for speaking Samoan, worker suspended

A Porirua woman claims she was asked to leave a Vodafone store because she was speaking to another customer in Samoan.

Litea Ah Hoi, the former Deputy Mayor of Porirua, told RNZ she was a bit "cheeky" to a staff member at Vodafone in North City Mall before he refused to serve her.

She had asked him about a promotional deal he claimed to not know about and spoke slowly to him when explaining what she wanted.

But she wasn't expecting him to not serve or talk to her afterwards.

Things escalated when Ah Hoi began speaking in Samoan to another woman in the store. The worker told her to stop speaking Samoan and get out.

She told Stuff she's worried about others who may face criticism for speaking their own languages in public but aren't confident speaking out.

"Here in Porirua we've had such a huge influx of migrants and refugees, we're just a melting pot and these people don't speak English.

"Nobody should be told they can't speak their mother language in a multilingual society: it's confronting, it's shocking and I'm still struggling to comprehend."

Ah Hoi told RNZ a Vodafone representative told her the next day the staff member believed she was talking about him due to their earlier confrontation, which she denies.

Vodafone told RNZ and Stuff in a statement it is in close contact with Ah Hoi and prides itself on customer interactions.

The staff member involved in the incident has been suspended while an investigation takes place.