The official celebration of the first anniversary of the Dawn Raids Apology is to be held at Ōrākei Marae in Auckland on August 27 2022.
One year ago, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern formally apologised to Pacific communities impacted by the Dawn Raids in the 1970s.
A mat is draped over Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as part of the Samoan Ifoga ceremonial apology. Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi
During the cultural exchanges after the 2021 ceremony, the chair and elders of Ngati Whatua Ōrākei made the generous offer to host the first year’s anniversary of the Dawn Raid’s Apology.
“The concept for the celebration of the one-year anniversary of the Dawn Raids Apology is an opportunity to reflect, celebrate and look to the future through an open and transparent cultural celebratory platform,” Aupito William Sio said.
He said Pacific peoples, Māori and other ethnic communities were specifically targeted and racially profiled during the Dawn Raids, which was wrong and never should have happened.
In a bid to preserve the history and educate the next generation a documentary series about the Dawn Raids in Aotearoa has been made, airing on August 1, the date the apology was made.
Members of the Polynesian Panthers gathered at the Auckland University Fale during the filming of ‘How we made it to 50 years’. Photo: Josiah Tualamali’i
How we made it to 50 years producer, Josiah Tualamali’i said the series explains how the Polynesian Panthers started their advocacy in the 1970s.
Some of the advocates were as young as 16-years-old, Tualamali’i said.
He said it documents the Dawn Raids period up until the apology last year.
“We just talked about, could there be something we can do to continue to make more people understand the stories and the work that they do? It just so happened that one of the people involved with the Pacific youth and community support Benji Timu, was a videographer and I studied history – so together with the Polynesian Panthers we have made this documentary,” Tualamali’i said.
Polynesian Panther and Associate Professor of Pacific Studies, Te Wananga o Waipapa, University of Auckland, Melani Anae, is in the series.
Anae said she is focussed on educating young people through the ‘Educate to Liberate’ programme.
“[It] is important because I think the legacy of the Polynesian Panthers has given this new generation of young people in Aotearoa today our three point platform. Number one, annihilate all forms of racism, celebrate mana Pasifika or your own ethnic identity and three, educate to liberate. So over the last 11 years now we have been visiting schools.
“We have given students another way of looking at our realities in Aotearoa how we can live in a better world, with the apology happening last year that was a sure sign of change, the only leader in the western world apologising for the dawn raids,” She said.
Another resource launched this week marking one year since the apology is the book, ‘A New Dawn’.
Author Emili Sione launches her new book ‘A New Dawn’ on the first anniversary of the New Zealand government’s official apology for the dawn raids era. 1 August 2022 Photo: Emili Sione
Author, Emili Sione has shared her Dawn Raid story to help people understand the real impact of this dark time in Aotearoa’s history with some valuable lessons for all New Zealanders’.
“This story actually has sat with me for a really long time and about five or six years ago I approached a publisher and said I really want to tell my story around my Dawn Raid experience…and there was a lot talk in the background about it but you know, you had comments of comments of you know, New Zealand not being ready for it, we are already dealing with Maori history and the land wars and New Zealand may not be ready for it, I was a little bit disappointed but I fully understood.
“So I sat on it, then what happened was the apology came and I thought, right this is the time to talk about my experience,” Sione said.
“I have to say it has been an overwhelming experience because you have to go back in time and reconnect with some of that hurt, some of that pain. And just forgiveness, I believe in forgiveness,” she said.
Launched on the first anniversary of the dawn raids apology ‘A New Dawn’ is a personal account from author Emili Sione looking at the lessons learned from this era. 1 August 2022 Photo: Emili Sione