Petition for Dawn Raids apology handed over to New Zealand Parliament

A petition calling for the government to apologise for the 1970’s Dawn Raids on Pasifika communities has officially been handed over to Parliament in Wellington Wednesday afternoon.

The petition, led by youth advocates Josiah Tualamali’i and Benji Timu, contained more than 7,000 signatures nationwide.

Before the passing of the petition, Timu told members of Parliament who were in attendance he was involved in the petition because he loved Pacific people.

“Right now, a lot of our people don’t want to talk about it, but now you have a new generation of Pacific people that understand this part of the history, which we are only finding out about as we are adults.

“A week ago, I only found out that two of my family members went through this traumatic event of being raided during the dawn.”

Tualamali’i acknowledged the representatives from Labour, National, Greens and the Maori Party for their acceptance of the petition.

“We’re just here because we think our Pacific peoples’ voices can be heard in so many different ways.

“It’s important that Parliament as an institution takes responsibility for what was enabled by the attitudes, the values and the culture in that Parliament, which these people here standing here to show can be different.”

Speaking on behalf of the Labour Party, Anae Dr Neru Leavasa says the petition was important for his family.

“My family migrated from Samoa, my extended family were affected as well, so this is a huge thing for us.”

Green Party MP Teanau Tuiono says an apology for the Dawn Raids is just the first step, but more needs to be done to make the apology meaningful.

“We need to have that educational element about that part of our history and it’s really important for all of our tamariki and school children to learn about that part of our history as well and have that embedded right across our education sector as well.

“There needs to be a broad amnesty for people who overstay along with pathways for residency as well for our whanau.”

Attending the petition handover for the National Party was Matt Doocey, who said: “If the future is Josiah and Benji, this country is going to be in great shape.

Doocey credits the Pacific advocates for creating change.

“The Dawn Raids were discriminatory and I want to acknowledge the value that Pacific people bring to New Zealand and I think it is right, not only the petition, but the education in schools. 

“They've made a change and it shows what democracy can do and what petitions can bring to this House to result in an apology from the government.”

Maori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer says the Dawn Raids were a traumatic time for many Pasifika and says an apology will help Pasifika and Maori to move forward in the future.

“I feel for our whanau who were ripped out of their homes, out of kaupapa where they should’ve been safe, safe here on our whenua.

“We know how it feels to miss an important part of our history. It is what heals us intergenerationally, it’s what helps lift the trauma and most importantly, it also helps us to be able to unite and be able to focus on the future.”

The Dawn Raid apology set for this Saturday in Auckland has been postponed​ as a result of Wellington moving to alert level two.


Photo PMN News