New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Monday that she would formally apologize to immigrants from islands in the Pacific Ocean.
During the 1970s, they were often the target of “humiliating police raids.”
After World War II, migration from Pacific islands such as Samoa, Tonga and Fiji was encouraged by New Zealand to solve labour shortages in the country. However, when the economy declined, the immigrants were accused of taking jobs from the local population.
According to Ardern, the infamous dawn raids were carried out by police and immigration officers who searched for people with expired visas and then expelled them from the country. The immigrants would have been judged based on their race. These searches were accompanied by verbal and physical humiliation, according to the Prime Minister.
“The raids and what they faced left deep wounds. While we can’t change history, we can recognize it and try to correct mistakes,” Ardern said.
The formal apology will be made on June 26 at Auckland City Hall.