Racism scandal in the 1970s: New Zealand apologizes for raids

Racism scandal in the 1970s
New Zealand apologizes for raids

In the 1970s, New Zealand police were particularly tough on non-white people whose permits had expired. Now the government apologizes for the racist dawn raids.

New Zealand’s government has apologized for the often brutal crackdown on migrants from other Pacific islands in the 1970s. In what became known as the “Dawn Raids”, the police targeted mostly non-white people from Pacific countries whose residence permits had expired. They were often treated in a humiliating way. In fact, at the time, the number of British and US Americans who had exceeded their visas was much larger than that of South Sea Islanders.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wore a typical toga from Samoa at a ceremony. “I stand before you as a symbol of the crown that wronged you almost 50 years ago,” she said. Enforcing immigration laws is one thing, but the Dawn Raids have gone way beyond that. The government wanted to express its “grief, remorse and regret”.

As part of the apology, she will award scholarships and provide educational resources to tell the story of the Dawn Raids. This should pave the way for “a new dawn and a new beginning for the Pacific peoples of New Zealand.”