August 03, 2022
Apology allows Dawn Raids history to surface
A year on from the Government’s apology for the Dawn Raids of the 1970s, a Tongan community leader says the process of healing it unleashed is working.
The apology ceremony at the Auckland Town Hall led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Pacific People Aupito William Sio was followed by a raft of initiatives including scholarships and the inclusion in the school curriculum of material on how immigration policies were enforced in a discriminatory way against workers from the Pacific Islands.
Tongan Advisory Council chair Melino Maka says many younger Pasifika people didn’t know the history.
Even his own grandchildren didn’t believe him when he tried to tell them about how his aunt screamed when he was grabbed by police early on February 1, 1976.
“It’s really hard for me to open up to my whānau who was born in Aotearoa, I think they are still trying to process what we went through. Hopefully, in the future it will never happen in Aotearoa again,” Mr Maka says.