Hate-motivated crime

If you feel unsafe, attacked, threatened, hurt, or targeted because of your race, religion, sexuality, gender, age, or disability, you should tell someone.

You can report this to Police or to one of our partner agencies.

It is important to report because:

  1. this information may be looked at when sentencing someone in court
  2. individual reports add up and can show a bigger problem


Reporting to Police

Everyone has the right to report, including if you are a witness, family member or colleague. Someone can report on your behalf or support you to report.

Step 1: You make a report to the Police

If someone is in danger or an incident is happening now, call 111 immediately.

If an incident has already happened and no one is in immediate danger, call 105, or report it online at 105.police.govt.nz

Make sure that you and any other affected people are in a safe place, away from the offender.

  • If you have difficulty hearing or talking on the phone, you can register for an emergency TXT service. Register now for the 111 TXT service.
  • Regardless of the language you speak call 111 in an emergency.

Step 2: If anyone thinks the incident was motivated by hate towards a person or group’s identity (such as their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or age) Police may record this as ‘perceived hate’ on your report.

Note: ‘Perceived hate’ does not mean that hate (bias or prejudice) has been proven. It means that from someone’s point of view, they believe the event was targeting someone’s identity.

Step 3: You will receive a case reference number.

You can add information, request an update, or withdraw a report with this number on Case/Update report.

Step 4: If your report is investigated or can't be investigated

If your report is investigated and there is evidence that the crime could have happened because of hate (bias or prejudice) Police may:

  • include information on your report to allow the Judge to consider this when they sentence people in court.
  • take a Victim Impact Statement, which is an opportunity for a victim to tell the court how the crime has personally impacted them.

If your report can’t be investigated this might be because what has happened was not illegal, but is still not ok, your report is closed, or you do not hear back from Police:

  • The information you include could be important for future investigations.
    • For example, if you or someone else were to file another report about the same person or place, Police may see a pattern of behaviour. This will support Police to track and prevent crime and help keep our communities safe.

Accessible formats


What to include when you report

Your report is based on your understanding of what has happened and why. Please include:

  • any words (such as hurtful name calling), sy­­­mbols, or actions that supports your understanding of why this has happened
    • It may be useful to explain ‘I believe this happened because they are Muslim…’ or ‘I felt targeted because of my disability’
  • any evidence such as videos, pictures, online content, text messages or letters
  • include the location and time the incident happened
  • anything else you think is important (this can be in bullet points)

You don’t need to be able to prove hate-motivation to include it in your report. NZ Police record all reported hate-motivated crimes and incidents based on a person’s perception. This means if anyone, including the call taker, police officer, victim or witness believe that a crime was motivated by bias or prejudice, it will be flagged in the Police system as ‘perceived hate’. It does not mean that hate has been proven to be a motivation.

Any further evidence or investigation carried out or Court proceedings may determine whether hate could be the motivation for the offence. If investigated and it is decided that the crime was not hate-motivated, then the flag may be removed.

For information on:


Reporting to other agencies

There are many places you can report, including where you can speak-up safely and anonymously.

Crime Stoppers

Crime Stoppers is an independent charity that offers a safe and anonymous option to speak up and report. They can pass the information you provide onto the correct organisation and want to understand what you know, not who you are.

Visit crimestoppers-nz.org/report
Or call 0800 555 111 to talk to an experienced call taker.

Te Kāhui Tika Tangata Human Rights Commission

The Human Rights Commission offers a free, confidential service to help with enquiries and complaints about unlawful discrimination, sexual and racial harassment, and harmful speech.

Visit tikatangata.org.nz
Or call 0800 496 877


Netsafe is New Zealand’s independent, non-profit online safety organisation. You can report issues including online abuse, bullying and harassment.

Visit netsafe.org.nz/report

The Department of Internal Affairs: Countering Violent Extremism Online

The Digital Violent Extremism Team at DIA is responsible for keeping New Zealanders safe from online harm by responding to and preventing the spread of objectionable material that promotes or encourages violent extremism.

Visit dia.govt.nz/Countering-Violent-Extremism


CERT NZ responds to cyber security threats in New Zealand. They support people affected by cyber security incidents and provide information and advice.

Visit cert.govt.nz/report


Available support

Hate can affect anyone and causes harm to all of us. If you have been impacted by hate, whether you were directly impacted or are a friend, family member, colleague or witness, there is support available.

There may be local support groups in your area and if you search ‘local support groups’ into Google you may find someone near you who can help. There are also the following nation-wide support agencies available.

Victim Support

If you are the victim of a crime or incident, no matter how serious, support is available. Victim Support can help you deal with any emotional and practical effects of the crime or incident and provide information to help you understand the legal process.

Visit victimsupport.org.nz

Community support

Neighbourhood Support Works with Police to bring neighbourhoods together to create safe, resilient and connected communities.

Visit neighbourhoodsupport.co.nz

Or call 0800 4 NEIGHBOURS (0800 463 444)

Police Liaison Officers

Iwi Liaison Officers Play an important role in navigating cultural issues and work to improve Police relationships with Māori.

Ethnic Liaison Officers Working in communities throughout the country, they listen to your concerns and work to improve safety in your communities.

Pacific Liaison Officers Enhance and develop relationships with Pacific communities.

Diversity Liaison Officers Provide liaison between Police and people in our community who identify as LGBTQIA+.

To contact your local Liaison Officer, visit police.govt.nz/contact-us/local-contacts

Mental health support

There are a range of resources and services available to help, including phone and online services and information, and face to face support.

Depression Helpline Call 0800 111 757 Text 4202 Visit depression.org.nz

1737 Call or text 1737 Visit 1737.org.nz

Suicide Crisis Helpline Call 0508 TAUTOKO (0508 828 865)

The Lowdown Call 0800 111 757 Text 5626 Visit thelowdown.co.nz

Lifeline Call 0800 LIFELINE (0800 54 33 54) Text HELP or 4357


The law and supporting information

What is a hate-motivated crime?

There are currently no specific offences called ‘hate crime’ in New Zealand law but you should always tell Police if you think you (or another person or group) were targeted because of your race, religion, gender identity, sexuality, age, disability, or any other part of your identity.

For a hate-motivated crime to have occurred, there are two things that must have happened:

  1. a crime must have been committed (for example an assault, damage to property or threatening behaviour)
  2. a reason the crime was committed is because of hate (bias or prejudice) towards the victim’s race, religion, gender, sexuality, disability, age, or any other part of their identity.

What is a hate-motivated incident?

This is when something happens to you that was motivated by hate that was not ok, but it is also not illegal. If you are unsure if your report will be considered a crime, you should still report it.

What is hate speech?

Broadly understood as harmful speech or writing that targets a person (or group) because of their identity.

Some types of hate speech may be a crime if an offence is committed by use of particular words (such as threats or harassment). It can also be when someone incites others to do harm to a group of people because of their colour, race, ethnicity or national origin (see Incitement of Racial Disharmony for more information).

What is freedom from discrimination?

The Human Rights Act makes it unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of sex (including pregnancy and childbirth), marital status, religious belief, ethical belief, colour, race, ethnic or national origin (including nationality or citizenship), disability, age, political opinion, employment status, family status and sexual orientation.

Your right to freedom from discrimination could outweigh someone’s right to freedom of expression.

What is freedom of expression?

Freedom of expression/freedom of speech is the legal right for someone to express their opinions freely.

Like all rights and freedoms, freedom of expression is subject to legal limitations and must be balanced against someone’s right to freedom of discrimination. Some expressions of hateful opinions may be ‘awful but lawful’ if they do not meet the threshold of a crime. Others may be a civil matter.

Visit the Te Kāhui Tika Tangata | Human Rights Commission website for more information.


Hate-related OIA responses