This documentary chronicles a shameful passage in New Zealand race relations: the controversial mid 1970s raids on the homes and workplaces of alleged Pacific Island overstayers. Director Damon Fepulea’i (Watermark, Jono and Ben) examines its origins in Pacific Island immigration during full employment in the 1960s, when a blind eye was turned to visa restrictions. As times got tougher, that policy changed to include random street checks by police, despite official denials. Resistance by activists and media coverage helped end a policy which has had a long term effect on the Pacific Island community.
The dawn raids were shameful, because in essence they set out to pick up anybody who didn’t look like a Pākehā or palangi New Zealander. They swooped on people who were Māori, they swooped on many Pasifika people who had absolutely lawful residence in New Zealand, may even have been born here...– Helen Clark
Made with funding from NZ On Air