Between 1974 and 1976, a series of rigorous immigration enforcement policies were carried out that resulted in targeted raids on the homes of Pacific families.
The raids to find, convict and deport overstayers often took place very early in the morning or late at night and were routinely severe with demeaning, verbal and physical treatment.
“The Dawn Raids were a defining moment in New Zealand’s history and the emotional harm caused by them remains etched in the living memory of those who were directly impacted,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“Communities at the time felt targeted and terrorised and there is clear evidence the raids were discriminatory and have had a lasting negative impact.
“An apology can never reverse what happened or undo the damage caused but we can acknowledge it and we can seek to right a wrong,” Jacinda Ardern said.
The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio said the Government apology is an opportunity to promote a reconciliation process for those directly impacted by the Dawn Raids.
“It will also help Pacific youth stand up with confidence and pride about their identity as Pacific Peoples of Aotearoa,” Aupito William Sio said.
“I am hopeful that the apology will affirm New Zealand as a country where every person irrespective of their colour, gender, sexual orientation or religious beliefs should be treated with dignity and respect.
“The apology will be delivered in a culturally appropriate way and is an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with our Pacific communities in Aotearoa and our Pacific neighbours,” Aupito William Sio said.
The formal Government apology for the Dawn Raids will be held at a commemoration event on the 26th of June in the Auckland Town Hall.
Photo file Caption: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern