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Apologies for atrocities - 4th August 2021 View All

Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, attended a traditional Samoan ceremony for forgiveness, then offered a public apology to the Pacific communities. This was a public acknowledgement of their unjust treatment by the government in the 1970s.

Police and immigration officers exercised widespread clampdown on immigration, famously called the “dawn raids”. The raids were aimed at arresting and deporting migrants whose work visas were up for renewal.

Jacinda Ardern: "Today, I stand on behalf of the New Zealand government to offer a formal and unreserved apology to Pacific communities for the discriminatory implementation of the immigration laws of the 1970s that led to the events of the Dawn Raids."

After the Second World War, New Zealand experienced an economic boom and labour shortage. The country then opened up to workers from the Pacific islands, Europe and USA.

However, after the 1970s economic downturn, migrant workers were being accused of taking New Zealanders jobs.

The clampdown on immigration saw the Pacific communities from Samoa, Tonga and Fiji unfairly targeted. This demographic represented one third of those whose visas were up for renewal but represented 86 percent of prosecutions.

Jacinda Ardern: "Our government conveys to the future generations of Aotearoa that the past actions of the Crown were wrong, and that the treatment of your ancestors was wrong. We convey to you our deepest and sincerest apology."

Ardern's government has devoted itself to putting an end to racism. Their hope is that this gesture will offer some comfort and healing for the Pacific communities of the country. View Less

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