Police are looking for two females after a woman in Queenstown reportedly had a cup of hot liquid thrown at her when she protested against a racial slur.
Two women pushed past a group of about 20 Australian tourists waiting to get into a burger bar at about 12.30am on Sunday, Sergeant Steve Watt said.
One of the women allegedly made a racial slur towards a man in the group, who was possibly of Indian descent, Mr Watt said.
When one of the female tourists told the woman her words were inappropriate, the woman allegedly responded by throwing a cup of hot liquid at her, causing slight burns to her face and pain in her eyes.
Security guards stepped in but by the time police arrived, the women had left the scene, Mr Watt said.
The pair could face charges of assault and offensive behaviour that could incite violence, if caught.
Police were unsure of the alleged offenders' nationalities, and Mr Watt said if they had already left the country there was little that could be done.
However an alert would be placed on their passports, so if they tried to enter New Zealand in future police would be notified.