Government to formally apologise for dawn raids targeting Pasifika later this month

One News / TVNZ

A formal Government apology for the dawn raids will be delivered later this month, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced.

Immigration officials targeted the homes of people from the Pacific Islands in the early hours of the morning, beginning in the 1970s in a crackdown on alleged “overstaying”.

The policy followed a boom in jobs after World War II, where many people from the Pacific Islands were encouraged to come to New Zealand to fill roles in growing industries.

As revealed by 1 NEWS earlier today, the apology will be made on June 26 at the Auckland Town Hall.

“The dawn raids period is a defining one in New Zealand’s history,” Ardern said.

“To this day, many members of our Pacific community still struggle to talk about their experiences during that period.

“They were routinely severe with demeaning verbal and physical treatment.

“To this day Pacific communities face prejudices and stereotypes … an apology can never reduce what happened, or undo the decades of disadvantage experienced as a result, but it can contribute to healing for Pacific peoples.”

There have been calls for an apology for the raids recently, with petitions, an open letter and the Human Rights Commission joining the push for an apology.

Social justice group the Polynesian Panthers protested the raids conducted nearly 50 years ago, this year still calling for an apology.

Reverend Alec Toleafoa, who joined the panthers as a 16-year-old, told 1 NEWS earlier this year that “part of the apology is putting to right the injustice that was done, what we’d like to see is recognition of that injustice. We would also like to provide something that is sustainable for our people, following an educative process…”

NZ Herald reported the open letter by Benji Timu said the raids had caused generational trauma.

“The past is implied as forgiven and forgotten; however, the effects of the past still linger in the fabric of our identity 50 years on,” it stated.

RNZ reported last month the Ministry of Pacific Peoples responded to the open letter, saying Pacific People’s Minister Aupito William Sio was receiving advice around an apology.

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