Anti-mandate woman arrested for refusing to show vaccine passport at Labour MP Tāmati Coffey's Rotorua restaurant

  • 03/02/2022

A Rotorua woman has been arrested for refusing to show a COVID-19 vaccine pass at a restaurant co-owned by local Labour list MP Tāmati Coffey.

The incident occurred at Our House on Wednesday evening, with the woman posting extensively about the situation to TikTok.

She says she's eaten at Our House since it opened, but staff refused to serve her because she didn't show a vaccine passport.

"I'm coming out for dinner with my friend and they're refusing to serve me. So they've rung the police to move us," she says in one video.

In a second video, two police officers have now arrived and one is explaining to her that she needs to leave.

"You're being trespassed, and because you're being trespassed you need to leave," an officer says.

The woman claims it's "a human right" to go out for dinner at a restaurant and refuses to leave.

In the third and final TikTok video, her friend says she's going to call her lawyer. But before she returns, the woman without a vaccine pass is put in handcuffs and walked out of the restaurant.

Tim Smith, who co-owns Our House with his husband, Tāmati Coffey, told the NZ Herald the incident appeared to be a "calculated and deliberate" publicity stunt.

He says they showed aggressive behaviour and demanded to be served. They also targeted youth volunteers who were celebrating a successful vaccination campaign.

Others sitting in the restaurant were their targets too, with Smith saying the women referred to patrons as "sheep" and "less than Māori".

Coffey told the NZ Herald that how the women behaved was "out of line".

"Stunts like this make it hard for our workers to do their jobs, but even worse, it puts our customers at risk too."

Police say they went to Our House after they received a report of a disorder.

"Police attended and advised two people that they were trespassed at the request of the lawful occupier," a spokesperson told the NZ Herald.

"After being given reasonable time to leave and warned that they would be arrested if they did not leave, one person was arrested when refusing to leave. A trespass notice and formal warning was issued."