News that war veterans and Anzac supporters selling poppies on Queenstown streets were racially abused absolutely appals me.
These volunteers reportedly copped verbal sprays from people who believed the poppies were made in China.
Leaving aside the fact these poppies were made in Christchurch, not China, it’s shocking to think there are people like this in our community.
People who obviously don’t realise many of the clothes and household goods they buy are probably made in China.
People who also still think China is the ‘yellow peril’ set to invade little old New Zealand, decades after the Cold War came to an end.
It’s also disturbing that these people seemingly don’t have any feeling for the Chinese folk who’ve visited and even settled here since the early days of European settlement.
Chinese came in the wake of the goldrush 150 years ago, supplying goods to many miners, and some of their descendants still live in this area today.
Now, as we’re constantly reminded, China is becoming one of Queenstown’s and NZ’s most important tourism markets.
Indeed, one of the themes of next week’s big TRENZ trade show in the resort is how NZ tourism can tap into the burgeoning middle classes of China and other Asian countries.
If you wanted proof that Queenstown is increasingly on China’s radar, such evidence came with last month’s visit from that country’s fourth most powerful politician, Chairman Jia Qinglin.
To think he was in town just days before these ignoramuses attacked the poor Poppy Day collectors.
These racists – and yes, that’s exactly what they are – also don’t seem to realise the proceeds of poppy sales go towards looking after the families, and especially the widows, of deceased war veterans. If the Returned and Services’ Association is getting some of its poppies made in China, it’s probably to save money on the cost so more dough can be made for widows and families when poppies are sold.
I was shocked enough when I found Aucklanders, via anonymous social media, were using the race card to attack their non-performing Super 15 Blues rugby side and its Samoan Kiwi coach Pat Lam.
Now this latest affair, on the very streets of Queenstown, suggests we too have our share of racists right in our midst.
How ironic and sad when the population of Queenstown is probably made up of more individual nationalities than any other place in the whole country.