Jacinda Ardern apologizes for immigration fight against 70s Pacific Islanders: NPR


New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, seen above at the COVID-19 press conference in August 2020, apologized to the 1970s Dawn Raids.

Mark Mitchell / AP

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Mark Mitchell / AP

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, seen above at the COVID-19 press conference in August 2020, apologized to the 1970s Dawn Raids.

Mark Mitchell / AP

In early 1974, New Zealand police armed with dogs woke up Pacific Islanders who allegedly exceeded their visas at dawn, pushed them into police vans for questioning, then often deported them and placed the children in state homes. The operation in the early morning hours became known as the “Rawn Daids Raids”.

Nearly 50 years later, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Sunday officially apologized for those raids and the permanent injury they inflicted. Ardern expressed the government’s “sadness, remorse and regret” over the raids.

New Zealand welcomed thousands of Pacific islanders after World War II to help fill labor shortages. So far, more than 65,000 Pacific islanders have lived in the country 1976. But the economic crisis later caused unemployment to rise, and migrants are to blame.

In addition to raids on houses, workplaces, schools and places of worship, police targeted non-white New Zealanders forcing them to always carry a passport. The attacks on the Pacific islands have been disproportionately affected, although most of those who have stayed are over visas from Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Ardern says the raids caused permanent pain

“It remains vividly etched in the memory of those directly affected, living in a breach of trust and faith in the government and living in the unresolved complaints of Pacific communities that these events have occurred and that have remained unaddressed to this day,” Ardern said at the rally. affected families in Auckland as they wiped away tears.

Residents of the Pacific islands in the country continue to “suffer scars” from discriminatory policies, Ardern said. She said she hoped the apology would bring much-needed closure to New Zealand Pacific Islanders ’communities.

Ardern was clad in a large white woven rug at a traditional Samoan ifoga ceremony where people ask for forgiveness. He was then removed by members of the Pacific community, a gesture of forgiveness.

The victims spoke of their trauma

New Zealand Minister for the Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, born in Samoa, was the victim of an early dawn when he was a teenager. He said the day of the raid remains etched in his memory.

“To have someone knocking on the door in the early hours, with a flashlight in his face, disrespecting the owner of the house, with a dog from Alsace with a sparkling mouth who wants to enter … It’s pretty traumatic,” he said. he said in June.

Immigration policy provoked the rage of religious, political, and civic groups until it was eventually stopped in the 1980s. A 1986 report they found that, although Pacific peoples made up approximately one-third of those who extended their stay, they accounted for 86% of lawsuits. In the same period, stay length overruns in the United States and the United Kingdom, which also accounted for approximately one-third of overdrafts, accounted for only 5% of lawsuits.

Tongan Princess Mele Siuʻilikutapu tearfully applauded the New Zealand government’s attempt to address “inhumane and unjust” treatment of its people. She called an apology “dawn for my community.”

“This is part of a deep and long conversation, and one of the gifts offered tonight is an extensive history of the early dawns, and we intend to ensure that our Pacific communities have the opportunity to tell their stories,” Sio said. he said after an apology.

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