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September 11, 2017 | by  | in News |
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“What The Cheque?” — Racism Accusations at Credit Union Central

A video posted by Te Whata Tau Ō Pūtauaki school principal, Ripeka Lessels, surfaced on social media this month, exposing a heated confrontation between herself and a manager at the Whakatane branch of Credit Union Central bank.

Lessels attempted to exchange the cheque, which she had filled out in Te Reo, and was declined. Lessels claimed that the bank manager “refuses to accept that Te Reo Māori is an official enough language of NZ to be used in his bank. He doesn’t accept it on the grounds that others in the bank (Pākehā) do not understand.” Lessels claimed that she has banked with Kiwibank, BNZ, and ASB in the past, who had all accepted her cheques in Te Reo. To which the manager responded was “rubbish.”

The video was viewed over 40,000 times, and sparked lively debates in the comment section. Discussion around the appropriate use of Te Reo, as well as casual and institutional racism, was particularly prevalent.

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:   I wanted to write this piece, in order to connect to all tauira within the University, with the hope that we can all remind ourselves that we are a part of an environment which is valuable, no matter our culture, our beliefs or our skin colour. The ultimate purpose of this