Verbal abuse and threats strike a cord with Taupō bouncers

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

A video has gone viral online of a bouncer refusing intoxicated patrons entry at Finn MacCuhal's Irish Pub in Taupō on Friday night.  He says he was verbally attacked and called a "nigga" and that the people who abused him were apparently staff from Taupō's branch of Work and Income (Community Link).

It's not the first time that abusive behaviour has reared its head at "Finns" in Taupō.  

This particular Friday though, bouncer Tamehana Tai-Rakena and co-worker Angela Condon felt traumatised following a full-on verbal attack from patrons, who they discovered are staff from the Taupō branch of Work and Income NZ.  They were being denied entry into the pub because they appeared and were behaving intoxicated.

Tamehana Thompson Tai-Rakena said, "Threatening me that I will lose my job, threatening me with gangs coming to see me at the door, not good at all and getting called all the names underneath the sun."
"The language, the personal attack was pretty bad haven't been personally attacked like that before," said Angela Condon. 

Community liaison advisor for Work and Income Julie Hill advised Te Kāea that there will be no comment from them due to an internal work investigation currently underway.  But Te Kāea understands that a representative visited the bar today to apologise.

Tai-Rakena believes, "They shouldn't have said the things that they did in their position after finding out that they work for Work and Income."

Bars have the right to deny people entry should they deem them too intoxicated.  Police have the right to charge owners should they find an intoxicated person on their premises, which is why bouncers like Tai-Rakena want clearer rules on assessing intoxicated people.

Condon says, "I think it's pretty wrong the way we get treated.  We are only doing a job we get paid to do it so we basically have to do it so it's pretty unfair the abuse we receive for just doing a job."

Since posting the clip, it has gone viral on social media, highlighting the negative nature of the New Zealand's binge-drinking culture.