Covered on this page:

Video transcript available for Inclusion and diversity Open Close
On camera: Alex, wearing a blue hoodie over a white T-shirt with a satchel-style bag slung over his left shoulder, walks through a university campus, passing a red brick building with a small garden along its front.

Alex to the camera: Everyone deserves to feel valued and respected for who they are. If you believe that, you believe in an inclusive culture - where everyone is welcome to contribute.

On camera: Alex sits on a wooden bench on campus, the leafless branches of deciduous trees reaching up behind him towards grey, overcast sky.

Alex to the camera: But being inclusive also means calling out discrimination when we see it.

On camera: Cal, wearing a maroon skivvy, sits on some concrete stairs.

Cal to camera: Look, I don't how they do things where you're from, but in New Zealand we...

On camera: Cal's face freezes mid-sentence, her mouth slightly open and her eyes closed.

Noise: Pause button beeping.

Alex's voiceover: So,​ this​ is discrimination: making anybody feel bad for being different from you and your group. It can range from an ignorant comment to threats and harassment. Discrimination can be about a person's...

On screen: A list of words in white block text pop up on a red background as Alex speaks them out loud: ...'Race', 'Sex', 'Age', 'Employment Status', 'Disability', 'Gender Identity', 'Sexuality', 'Religion'.

Alex's voiceover: Basically any point of difference that makes someone unique.

Alex to the camera: Discrimination can make the victim feel unsafe, unable to express themselves, and it can be seriously damaging towards their mental health. ​You might think there's nothing wrong with making fun of someone for being old, for example, but how that feels for them isn't up to you. ​The same is true for sexual harassment and bullying.

On camera: Coloured lights flash on the walls and tables of an empty restaurant at night. Sam wears a white shirt.

Sam to camera: Yo, I should give my friend your number. He's real into girls with your kind of body...

On camera: Sam's face freezes mid-sentence.

Noise: Pause button beeping.

Alex's voiceover: This bro may think he's playing Cupid, but what he's actually doing is participating in sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is any unwanted, inappropriate sexual remarks or physical advances.

On camera: Alex sits at the empty bar of the restaurant, resting his elbow on it.

Alex to the camera: It can range from unwanted comments like these to more extreme examples, like sexual abuse or assault. Whether major or minor, neither is OK.

On camera: At a cafe with exposed brick walls, Cal sits with Sam who now wears a yellow beanie and a green and white striped rugby jersey. She addresses the camera like she's speaking to someone standing next to their small round table.

Cal to camera: I'm just confused. Are the rips in your jeans designer or are you just povo?

On camera: Cal and Sam freeze-frame.

Noise: Sam sniggers. Pause button beeping.

Alex's voiceover: We've all made fun of someone before. But when it happens to someone repetitively, deliberately and maliciously, we're no longer talking about jokes. We're talking about bullying.

On screen: A grey speech bubble resembling a text message appears on a bright red background. It reads 'Oi povo.' Three dots appear beneath it, changing in colour from light grey to dark indicating that someone is typing. A new message appears: 'I'm outside ur place.' The three dots appear again and are swiftly replaced with a sent photo of a rubbish skip covered in graffiti. This is followed by a message reading 'Jks', followed by a final message: 'This one is a bit outta ur price range.'

Alex's voiceover: Bullying is anyone acting in a harmful or intimidating way to another person over and over. It covers name-calling, physical abuse and other acts of aggression. It doesn't matter if it's online or in real life either. Bullying is bullying.

On camera: With his bag slung back over his shoulder, Alex wanders through a car park.

Alex to the camera: So what do you do if you're a victim of discrimination, harassment or bullying?

On camera: At the restaurant, Sam stands with his arms crossed over his white shirt. Cal is also dressed in a white shirt and stands with one hand on the leg of a chair they’ve placed upside down on a table as she speaks to Sam.

Alex's voiceover: Firstly, you should know that you should never just put up with it. The first approach, if you are comfortable, is to straight-up ask the person doing it to stop.

On camera: Cal now sits in one of the restaurant's booths a with manager in a striped shirt who listens to Cal with her hands clasped in front of her.

Cal to manager: I was on my break...

Alex's voiceover: If they don't stop, or if you don’t feel comfortable asking them to, talk to a teacher, principal or employer about the situation.

On screen: Words in white block text form a list on a bright red background: YouthLaw, Community Law, Human Rights Commission and Employment Relations Authority.

Alex's voiceover: There are also a number of services you can call on if you need advice, like YouthLaw, Community Law, the Human Rights Commission and the Employment Relations Authority. If it feels uncomfortable to talk about, you can also get in touch with many services through email or text too.

On camera: Alex stands on a wooden walkway on the university campus.

Alex to the camera: And if you see any of this stuff happening, call it out. It's everyone's job to be aware, to look out for each other and to take action when we need it. That's what an inclusive culture is all about.

On screen: The logo of the School Leavers' Toolkit rapidly slides into the middle of the screen with a link to their website.

Text on screen: School Leavers' Toolkit logo and

What is discrimination?

Discrimination is when you treat another person unfairly based on something about them that's different to you or your group, or at least something you believe to be different. It can happen both in people's public and private lives.

Acts of discrimination often have negative impacts, making the person affected feel unsafe and unable to express themselves, as well as damaging their mental health. A common example of discrimination is racism, which is when a person or group of people believe that their race is better than another. Racism often results in discrimination and prejudice towards people based on the colour of their skin or ethnicity.

While discrimination is unfortunately experienced by people every day, it isn’t the case every time you treat someone differently. There are times when you need to take account of someone’s culture or set of beliefs, such as a specific Māori practice, that require you to be considerate and mindful of their custom.

Useful links:

How can people be discriminated against?

Now we’ve quickly looked at what discrimination actually is, let’s move on to some of the things people can be discriminated against for. As well as your race, other examples include your:

  • gender
  • disability
  • gender identity
  • sexuality
  • religion
  • age
  • employment status.

Living in a society like Aotearoa New Zealand you will probably come across people from all sorts of backgrounds. It’s important you think about what these differences mean, and make sure you aren’t treating someone in a certain way just because they are different to you.

Colonisation in Aotearoa New Zealand

In modern Aotearoa New Zealand, racial discrimination, or racism, is grounded in our history of colonisation. When settlers arrived from Europe, many thought that they were better than the Māori already living here, and used this to justify some pretty awful things. Some of these ideas still affect Aotearoa New Zealand today.

For a visual look at how the colonisation of Aotearoa New Zealand has had an effect on racial discrimination in particular, click on the TKI link below and download the text to the Te Tiriti o Waitangi comic.

Useful links:

How can we address discrimination?

The first step in addressing discrimination is to recognise the seriousness of the problem. The reality is that although Aotearoa New Zealand sees itself as fair and tolerant, discrimination still affects workplaces, education, people’s attitudes, law and other parts of our daily life.

Having empathy, being able to understand what another person is experiencing, is an important part of challenging this. If we can put ourselves in other people’s shoes and start to understand things as they do, it will help them feel respected and valued in society.

There are also some laws in place to try and protect people from discrimination. One of them, the Human Rights Act 1993, protects people from being discriminated against in their public life.

Under the Act, it is illegal for discrimination to affect your:

  • education
  • employment
  • access to public services
  • access to housing
  • partnerships.

Confronting discrimination is something we should all be doing, and shouldn’t just be left to the person or group suffering. However, if you feel like you are being discriminated against then there are options available to you to complain.

For an overview of what those options are, check out this New Zealand Government link:

Useful links:

Key websites

  • Community Law - The Community Law website is the official home of the Community Law Centres across Aotearoa New Zealand, which aim to provide free legal help to people throughout the country.
  • Human Rights Commission - The Human Rights Commission works to help protect the rights of all types of people in Aotearoa New Zealand. They look at rights both in work and in your everyday life.
  • YouthLaw Aotearoa - YouthLaw Aotearoa is a community law centre which provides free legal help to children and young people under 25. Their website contains useful information in relation to your rights.
  • E-Tangata - Committed to building a greater Māori and Pasifika presence in our media, E-Tangata is a great website to check out to get to the heart of what it means to be Māori or Pasifika in Aotearoa New Zealand, and often publishes pieces about racism, discrimination, colonisation and identity.