Canterbury woman 'mortified' after vandals tag racial slur on her driveway

The vandalism in front of Nelly Bremner's house.
The vandalism in front of Nelly Bremner's house. Photo credit: Supplied

A resident of a Canterbury town says she's "mortified" after waking up to find a racial slur tagged on her driveway, in what's being labelled "disgusting" and "horrific" by members of the community.

Rolleston woman Nelly Bremner, who moved to the town south of Christchurch from the North Island nearly a year ago, told Newshub her husband went outside to check their mailbox on Friday morning - only to find the word "n***a" written in green spray paint at the end of her drive.

"People are telling me, 'It's just some teenagers' and whatever but, to be honest, it's… hate crime," she said.

"I'm the only [brown person] on my street - I'm mortified. We moved here from Wellington to start a fresh, new life… As a person of colour, I've experienced racist shit growing up so it's quite triggering and traumatising."

Bremner, who is of Fijian-Indian descent, said her husband went to the local police station to report the graffiti on Friday morning - where others were reporting similar vandalism throughout the town that appeared to take place overnight.

After she shared a photo of her driveway to the Rolleston Community Page Facebook, others shared images of rubbish bins tagged with swastikas and street signs vandalised - also with green paint.

Bremner said she started to question whether she'd made the right decision to move to Canterbury.

"It's so hurtful - that word is not OK, you know? I'm so anti-racism… I've got a small family, my son's brown."

She believed whoever committed the vandalism knew what they were doing.

"That concerns me because we've got such a small, local community and I would hate for this to have happened to a newly-migrated family from… a different culture."

Bremner did not believe Rolleston was a racist town but said those engaging in such behaviour were a stain on the community.

She said she was humbled by the support she'd received since posting about the vandalism on the community Facebook page, with locals offering to come and help remove the grafitti. Other commenters described the vandalism as "disgusting" and "horrific".

"We are getting really positive responses from the community which is quite nice and lots of people have offered to come and water blast it off," Bremner said.

"Selwyn Water Blasters - they've really generously offered to come and water blast it off for us in the next hour." 

Overall, Bremner hoped her experience would be taken seriously by the police and wider community.

"If you're going to brush it off as 'just teenagers', that is so not helpful because it could be some local psycho who has a problem with me on this street."

Police and the local Selwyn District Council have been contacted for comment.