Dawn Raid apology

Tongan overstayer's lawyer 'disgusted' to see dawn raid apology disregarded

PMN News reports Soane Foliaki, who’s a senior solicitor at Community Law South Auckland with over 30 years experience in helping immigration clients, says when he first heard what had happened he was shocked. 

“I was at the apology and I was also a teenager at the time of the first dawn raids in the seventies,” he says. 

“To see the Prime Minister do the apology with such humility by way of the ifoga - putting the mat over her head - it was really moving. 

“So when this happened it’s hard to describe how I felt - to be honest I was quite disgusted.”

Ardern gives formal apology on behalf of government for Dawn Raids

Ardern delivered the speech as part of a three and a half hour ceremony in front of more than 1000 people at the Auckland Town Hall.

She said the raids to find, convict and deport overstayers often took place late at night or early in the morning and were said to involve harsh verbal and physical treatment.

"Today I offer, on behalf of the government, a formal and unreserved apology to Pacific communities for the discriminatory implementation of immigration laws that led to the Dawn Raids," Ardern said.

Tongan princess in tears as she accepts formal Dawn Raids apology

The practice saw immigration officials target the homes of Pacific Islands people in the early hours of the morning, beginning in the 1970s, in a crackdown on alleged “overstaying” on their visas.

Princess Mele Siu’ilikutapu Kalaniuvalu Fotofili began her acceptance speech by mixing the tears with laughter, Kaniva News reports.

“This is a typical Polynesian, crying, we are so emotional, I tell you, I’m sorry, it goes with the make-up,” she said.

She then went on to thank Ardern.