Taika Waititi becomes 'the voice of racism' in new $1.3 million campaign

Taika Waititi, who once said New Zealand is "racist as f**k", has literally become the "voice of racism" in a new Human Rights Commission campaign.

On a new website launched on Monday, Kiwis can hear the Boy director utter phrases like "Typical Māori, mucking around instead of making our coffees" and "I'm not racist, some of my family are brown". 

Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon told The AM Show on Monday the number of complaints the agency gets about racism isn't going down.

"People that actually dish out racism, they sometimes don't know that they're doing it. 'They're taking our jobs,' 'you don't speak our language', or when they speak to an Indian person they're moving their head. Subtle stuff like that.

"You need to stop and think... 'Would I be receptive to this? How would I feel? Would it be hurtful? Would it be harmful?' If it was to you, don't say it. Just keep it in your head." 

Waititi, who portrayed the ultimate racist - Adolf Hitler - in his recent satire Jojo Rabbit, also took part in the commission's previous campaign, Give Nothing to Racism. 

"We've got a spectrum of strategies and campaigns running right throughout the country every day," said Foon.

"Yes, we do need a continuation of campaigns. It's great we're actually talking about racism now, and racism is not a hidden word. We were quite secretive before."

The Voices of Racism campaign cost $1.3 million. Foon said it was a "modest" amount, considering the "cost and harm of racism to New Zealand society, families and groups over decades and even centuries is inestimable".

"We need the team of 5 million to eliminate racism in New Zealand. We've done well at others - the stadium of 4 million, the team of 5 million for COVID - and it's time now for the team of 5 million to eliminate racism."