New Plymouth's outgoing mayor says he now has an inkling of the effects of racism after campaigning for Māori representation in the province.
Andrew Judd has said he will not seek a second term after being spat at and abused in the street over his failed attempt to introduce a Māori ward in New Plymouth.
Mr Judd was elected in 2013 in a landslide victory over the incumbent mayor, Harry Duynhoven, but he will not seek re-election after receiving abuse over his campaign for greater Māori representation.
The district council voted to establish a Māori ward last year but the decision was quashed by a public-initiated referendum which saw 83 percent of the 25,000 votes cast against the proposal.
He said he was told things like "Māori don't need special treatment, they just need to be more like us", that he was a bigot, a separatist, and had supported apartheid.
Mr Judd describes himself as a recovering racist, saying he had formerly shared the motivation behind people's anger - what he calls "cliched, ignorant statements.
"It was purely based on ignorance and fear because I didn't have to walk in a Māori world."
He said he had never been on a marae for the first 50 years of his life, despite living in a province so rich in Māori culture.
Complaints over Hosking's comments
Viewers of a story on TVNZ's Seven Sharp programme last week heard how Mr Judd had been sworn at and spat on for pushing to have Māori representation on the council.
Following the screening, co-host Mike Hosking added his opinion, which echoed the resistance Mr Judd had been describing.
"Sad to say I'd never personally attack him obviously but he's completely out of touch with middle New Zealand - there's nothing wrong with Māori representation on councils cause any Māori that wants to stand for a council is more than welcome to do so and you can sell your message and if you're good enough you'll get voted on."
In a statement, a TVNZ spokesperson said there had been formal complaints about Mr Hosking's comments.