New Zealand’s PM formally apologizes for 1970s crackdown on Pacific Islanders

Moscow, Aug 1 (Agency) Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern on Sunday offered apologies for an immigration crackdown in the 1970s against Pacific Islanders, known as Dawn Raids. “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. The Government expresses its sorrow, remorse, and regret that the Dawn Raids and random police checks occurred and that these actions were ever considered appropriate,” Ardern said.

As part of a traditional Samoan ceremony, in which people ask for forgiveness or receive forgiveness, the prime minister has had a mat draped over her by several of her ministers and lawmakers at the Auckland Town Hall. In the early 1970s when New Zealand suffered from an economic crisis and unemployment, the authorities conducted early morning raids in the homes and workplaces of people from the Pacific Islands who had overstayed their visas. The operations resulted in the deportation to the countries of origin and prosecution of thousands of Pacific Islanders.