Dawn raids: Jacinda Ardern set to deliver formal apology today in Auckland

Author
Te Rina Triponel,
Publish Date
Sun, 1 Aug 2021, 9:31AM
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio during a post-Cabinet press conference addressing the dawn raids. (Photo / Mark Mitchell)
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio during a post-Cabinet press conference addressing the dawn raids. (Photo / Mark Mitchell)

Dawn raids: Jacinda Ardern set to deliver formal apology today in Auckland

Author
Te Rina Triponel,
Publish Date
Sun, 1 Aug 2021, 9:31AM

The Government will today deliver a formal apology to address the injustices of Pacific peoples during the 1970s dawn raids.

It will be given by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at Auckland Town Hall this afternoon.

The much-anticipated event is expected to see hundreds of people attend, including families who were impacted by the dawn raids, dignitaries, community groups like the Polynesian Panther Party, young Pasifika activists and government officials including the Minister of Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio.

Critics have called the dawn raids an act of state sanctioned terrorism, and Pasifika communities say the apology is long overdue.

The dawn raids began in 1974 when the then Labour government, faced with an economic downturn, clamped down on people overstaying their working visas. The raids were continued by the National Party.

Earlier this year a call was made by Pasifika activist group, the Polynesian Panther Party, for the Government to make a formal apology. It gained tremendous support but pressure mounted after two men led a petition for it to be effective immediately.

In an open letter to Ardern, Benji Timu, who delivered the petition, wrote the raids led to generational-trauma and that it set the standard in how New Zealanders perceived Pasifika communities.

He said the raids were a foundation in which the mistrust began between Pacific peoples and authority figures like police and the government. But an apology is a step forward for growth.

Ardern said the apology would be in line with past government apologies, and not look into any amnesty or compensation issues.

Polynesian Panther Party founding member Dr Melani Anae says New Zealand's social and political climate during the 1970s was "one of racial tension and unrest as police and immigration authorities victimised Pacific Islanders they suspected of abusing their visas".

The Polynesian Panther Party says some people who endured the dawn raids still reflect a deep sense of shame.