Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy has welcomed the apology of Wellington man Moses Tupaea who racially abused fellow passengers on a bus in the Hutt Valley last month.
Mr Tupaea was sentenced to community service and fined in the Wellington District Court this week. During his tirade against two Muslim Kiwis he was called out by fellow passenger, Pene Walker.
“The story of the Valley Flyer bus is important as it reminds us that human rights don’t just exist thousands of miles away, human rights begin at home where we live and work,” said Dame Susan.
“Real life incidents where real people stand up for the rights of other people are worth more than a hundred public relations campaigns. People who choose to stand up to bullies instead of being a bystander.”
“Pene Walker said she wasn’t a hero but she is. An everyday hero who showed the rest of us how to call out hatred when we see it happening in front of us.”
Dame Susan said Pene’s courage was reminiscent of another bus passenger who stood up to racism decades ago, thousands of miles away: “You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right” – Rosa Parks.