Wellington, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sat stationary on Sunday when members of the Pacific Islands community pulled a large white mat over her head to completely cover it. After a while, they removed it and hugged her. It was part of an emotional ceremony at Auckland City Hall, during
Wellington, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sat stationary on Sunday when members of the Pacific Islands community pulled a large white mat over her head to completely cover it. After a while, they removed it and hugged her.
It was part of an emotional ceremony at Auckland City Hall, during which Ardan formally apologized for the racist part of the country’s history known as Dawn Raid.
It was then that the Pacifica people were targeted for deportation in the mid-1970s when authorities found and convicted visa overstays and aggressively attacked homes to deport them. Attacks often took place early in the morning or late at night.
By being covered in mats, Ardan participated in a traditional Samoa ritual known as Ifoga. In this ritual, subjects seek forgiveness by being exposed to a form of public humiliation.
Ardan told hundreds of weeping crowds that the government had offered a formal and unconditional apology.
“The government is saddened, regretted, and regretted that Dawn Raid and random police checks were conducted and these actions were deemed appropriate,” Ardan said.
At the time of the raid, many Pacific people came to New Zealand on temporary visas to help meet the needs of workers in national factories and fields. However, the government seemed to turn on the community by deciding that those workers were no longer needed.
People who didn’t look like white New Zealanders were told they needed to carry identification to prove they weren’t overstayed, often stopping randomly on the streets, or even in schools and churches. Was done. Many overstays at the time were British or American, but only Pacific people were deported.
Ardan said the attack took place almost 50 years ago, but their legacy continued.
“It remains vividly engraved in the memories of those directly affected. It lives on in the collapse of trust and faith in authority. And these events happened, and to this day they What has not been addressed lives on in the open dissatisfaction of the Pacific community, “she said.
Ardan said in good faith that the government would fund new education and training scholarships for the Pacific community and help edit the official account of the assault from the history of written records and dictations. rice field.
“As part of this, the community has the opportunity to come forward and share their experiences,” Ardan said.
Tonga’s Princess Mereshui Ricta Pukaraniuval Photofili said the influence of Dawn Raid has plagued her community for generations.
“Thanks to your government for making the right decision to apologize,” she told Ardan. “To correct extreme, inhuman, racist and injustice during the Dawn Raid era, especially for my community.”
The princess said some members of her Tongan community may have been on the other side of the law at the time, but did not justify the extreme measures taken against them.
But the princess said the government could do a better job to meet the needs of current immigrants, the comments received a lasting applause. She said a petition was filed to find a route and place of residence for overstays and visa holders.
“This is a new dawn for my community and the entire Pacific Community,” she said.
The Sunday ceremony was originally scheduled for June, but has been postponed to combat coronavirus. The apology did not include broader monetary compensation or legislative changes, but many Pacific people say it is an important first step.
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