Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Perspectives on the Dawn Raids (Level One History Assignment #1)

Hey, reader.

Prepare yourself for a long read.

Now, I mentioned in a TIL not long ago that I had been going to Level One History as an additional class. I felt like I should've taken the opportunity of having History as an extra subject since it would give me something to wake up early for - because last year I had many days where I came late. And there's not a day gone by where I've come to school past 9:00am. I mean, it's working, reader!

Anyway, for History the class focused on the Dawn Raids that happened in New Zealand during the 1970s and part of the 1980s. Then, after reading and discussing and going through lessons about the Dawn Raids and its effects and consequences, we were introduced the first assignment of the year. The main part of the assignment was to provide two perspectives of two different people clearly showing whether they were for or against the Dawn Raid policy. Now, if you've been reading this blog during 2015, you'll find that one of the people I named in my piece has been a character for a previous piece of writing.

I was half excited because I got to use that character again, but also half saddened by the fact that this time, he was used during the Dawn Raids era.

Now, I only realised on Monday the 13th of February that the assignment was due on Thursday the 16th of February. I mean, I was only told about the assignment about once or twice, and during both times I was working and concentrating on the work. So on Tuesday and Wednesday, I put myself into that kind of mode where I try to focus on my work to try and make it as good as it can.

This is an actual thing I do, reader. Haven't you read my "Heroes" Reading Response?

Ah, I should stop talking now. Here's my piece that I handed in on Thursday morning.

From the 1950s to the 1960s, polynesians (many from Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji) came to New Zealand in search of a new life and to seek employment - as New Zealand’s economy was at a high. During the 1970s, New Zealand then went through an economic decline, seeing unemployment rising due to the lack of jobs and the growing population, especially in Auckland, and many blamed Polynesian people for the economic decline.

The Dawn Raid policy was established by the National Government while they were in power in the 1970s, but tensions rose during the dawn raids, as police officers entered homes without search warrants, and targeting the Polynesian community. This has left a long-lasting effect on the relationship between the police and the Polynesian community. The Dawn Raids has left a dark mark on New Zealand’s history, as they separated and affected families.


Thursday 14th September 1978.

Greetings to all of the Commission of Enquiry. I am Constable Lachlan Derrington, and at only 41 years old, I am one of many officers who are required to carry out dawn raids under the National Government’s Dawn Raid policy who has come today to speak on behalf of my colleagues, supporting the Dawn Raid policy.

Throughout the last few years, I’ve been carrying out dawn raid operations over Auckland, knocking on the homes of who we (the police) thought were immigrants who had overstayed their visa. People like them are taking up New Zealanders’ jobs and are part of the cause of our rising unemployment rates. There were some raids where we were in the wrong, but I can assure to you that around 90% of the time, according to accounts by other constable police officers who were questioned on their dawn raid operations, we’ve caught overstayers who actually were overstayers.

We have also carried out random checks on the street during day and night requesting to see identification to see which categories they fell in, which were:

  1. A legitimate New Zealand citizen
  2. A person on a legitimate visa, or
  3. A person overstaying their visa

We believe that each police constable has checked a variety of ethnicities of which we believe could be potential overstayers. I don’t have any confirmation on this, but it seems fair enough. These days, during the economic bust here in New Zealand, you’ve got to try and do something to keep the country running, the economy going, and the overstayers out. That’s what we’re doing.

As mentioned not long ago in this speech, I stated that the main reason for why we’re cracking down on overstayers with the Dawn Raid policy is because with the increasing amount of Polynesians coming from Polynesia to work in New Zealand have essentially taken the jobs and, adding to that, caused crime rates and unemployment rates to rise. There are real New Zealanders who want to work in their country, and all they see are overstayers taking over. If we remove more and more overstayers, this will decrease the unemployment and crime rates down substantially.

We’ve been criticized on this policy by organizations and people defending overstayers, but we’re following the policy and trying to help New Zealand to return back to its prospering state of bustling economy and easy living, without having to worry about people with overstayed visas taking jobs. Especially in Auckland, which is a city that is rapidly growing with job opportunities and new people popping up from cities and towns nearby. Until then, I, along with many other police officers controlling the dawn raid operation, are for the policy, to bring New Zealand jobs to New Zealand people.

In conclusion, we are for the Dawn Raid policy because we are for the New Zealand people, and are against overstayers, and we think that this policy is fair for this time where our economy is declining, and we need to take action. Thank you for listening.


Tuesday 26th September 1978.

Kia ora, talofa lava, and greetings to the parliamentary committee, my name is Phillip Iosefa Lavea, and I am 22 years old. Today I am here to share my voice and opinion about the Dawn Raids policy. For two months, I have been a part of the Polynesian Panthers, an organization founded by New Zealand-born Polynesians in 1971 that provide aid to Pacific Islanders affected by the Dawn Raids policy.

I’ve taken action against the policy by helping out with the Polynesian Panthers as they have organized prison visits for Pacific Islanders to visit family who have been targeted and escorted out of their homes, suspected of being overstayers, despite many putting their names down in the Overstayers Register. Another social program the Polynesian Panthers carry out is handing out pamphlets to many Polynesians who could potentially become victims of the dawn raids later on, informing them on their rights and questioning the police about whether or not they have a search warrant.

There are a few reasons for why I’ve decided to join this organization, and why the organization does what it does. I joined the organization after having experienced a dawn raid two months. At a time where many people would’ve been sleeping, my family were shocked and speechless as men dressed in dark blue knocked on the door, and just rock on in and go through the home, and they would later on take my parents into custody (and yes, I still live with my parents, because it’s even harder getting a house on your own when you can’t get a job these days due to people judging me on my skin, and having to deal with a high rent all for fluctuating electricity and no hot water), sending them through the judicial process, leaving me and my younger siblings to just wonder where they were taken, despite being in the country for 13 years. 13 years. We’ve lived in New Zealand for 13 years. We had a legitimate visa here. I was furious. I was upset at what my parents went through, only just escaping jail or being deported when they heard there were no charges against them.

It was only a few weeks ago that I heard about and joined the Polynesian Panthers. The Polynesian Panthers believe that the current policy of ridding New Zealand of overstayers to crack down on immigration, under the belief that immigrants are taking jobs, is unjust, unfair, and racist towards the Polynesian community, from the amount of Polynesians being taken away for questioning on their visas, based on the colour of their skin. For many Polynesians, or possibly ALL Polynesians, we, as a whole, are not at fault for most of New Zealand’s economic bust. Not all of us took all the jobs. Not all of us are criminals because we’re brown. As some may have noticed, this policy is mained primarily at us, yet there are many more overstayers from both Britain and Australia. You can clearly see the unjust side of this policy, having turned a blind eye to them and targeting us, the brown-skinned people trying to come to a new country for a new life. Many have came to New Zealand for a better life and to find a job, and have instead left their families and have been taken back to their country of origin. I believe that this policy should go under thorough enquiry from the government and change it to make it more fairer for everyone, and not single out specific groups of people.

In conclusion, to end off, the Dawn Raids policy that is currently taking place in New Zealand today is unjust, unfair, and racist towards the Polynesian community, that is slowly growing in Auckland, and I believe it should be adjusted so that groups of people will not be singled out and targeted, and so police aim to get the right people are actually overstayers, instead of separating families and judging people by their skin.

Thank you for listening to my opinion on this matter, and even if I didn’t make a single person change their mind on the policy in the near future, thank you for at least considering my opinion on this matter.

1 comment:

Rihari said...

Hi Willy. Just by sheer chance I came across your blog and was so surprised to see you writing about this time in history some 40 years back now.

Anyhow, just to share with you - at the time I was a late teen to early 20s aged Maori working and studying in Auckland at the time. Many of us would be stopped in the street by police and asked for ID. On some occasions, I didn't have any and was taken in to custody to remain in a Police cell until someone came with some ID. My European friends never suffered from this yet it kept happening to us Maori and Samoan boys. It made us feel like we were bad boys. Sometimes, the Police would try to pin other unsolved little crimes like stealing on to us yet we had nothing to do with them. We got told and thought we would go to jail for these crimes.

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