The Reading / Listening – Dawn Raids – Level 2

New Zealand has apologized to people from South Pacific islands like Tahiti, Tonga, Samoa and Fiji for an immigration policy in the 1970s. The policy was known as the Dawn Raids. Over 65,000 Pacific Islanders lived and worked in New Zealand. That is because there was a shortage of workers. Police with dogs woke up some Islanders early in the morning to deport them. The Dawn Raids focused on those who overstayed their visas. Police put their children in government care homes. Most over-stayers at that time were from the UK, South Africa and Australia.

Ms Ardern expressed “sorrow, remorse and regret” for the raids. She took part in a traditional forgiveness ceremony to apologise. She was covered with a large mat to show forgiveness. Ardern said people still hurt today because of the raids. She said they did not trust or have faith in the police. She said the policy was wrong and that Islanders in New Zealand today still “suffer the scars”. A princess from Tonga thanked Ardern for apologizing for the “inhumane and unjust” treatment of her people. She called it “a new dawn for my community”.