'Racist' real estate ad pulled following 1News investigation

Logan Church
Source: 1News

An Auckland real estate developer's brochure has been labelled "racist", after it promoted its new build as an area with a high European population.

Eden Reits Takapuna development.

The Lake Park development, By Eden REITs, is being built in Takapuna, on Auckland’s North Shore.

In one brochure – which 1News understands has been sent to some potential customers – it states on a page titled, ‘Elite - passion and heritage originating from an elite circle’, that "82.8 per cent of Takapuna's residents are European descent".

Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon called it, “disappointing that real estate firms are still racially profiling”.

"It should be taken out of today's advertising; these people are professional - what is the fear?" he said.

"All New Zealanders should be treated as humans and all New Zealanders should have the opportunity to buy where they want to."

1News spoke to City Sales, a real estate firm which had passed the brochure on to potential customers.

City Sales marketing manager Scott Dunn said his company had only signed on with the developer in "the last few days", but he had seen the advertising brochure.

He said it was "entirely inappropriate" but admitted he had not yet spoken to Eden REITs about it.

Joe Pihema, Ngāti Whātua, described these types of marketing campaigns as "rubbish".

"We develop land over on the North Shore. It's certainly not the marketing pitch we would put out into the public domain," he said.

Eden REITs staff told 1News they were "very, very sorry" for its marketing material.

"For this campaign, a marketing team member made a literal translation without understanding the wider context around it," Eden REITs’ Joanne Chen said.

"We apologise unreservedly for any hurt this might have caused - this was not our intention at all, and we will learn from this."

Chen said the company had removed all insensitive material from its website, implemented a culture and diversity training course, self-reported the incident to the Human Rights Commission, and set up an internal advertising review committee to oversee its future marketing material.

"We now realise how serious this issue is."