Dawn raids, which began under the Muldoon government in 1974, were a controversial campaign to arrest and deport any Pacific Island overstayers. Many had been encouraged to come to New Zealand to fill a labour shortage in the 1960s, but when the economy tightened in the 1970s there was a clampdown on overstayers. Police launched a campaign of dawn raids on Pacific Island households around the country and Pacific Islanders were routinely stopped on the streets on the suspicion that they might be overstayers.During that time pasifica people were hidden from authorities.
Porirua city councillor Litea Ah Hoi says "It just reminds me of the dawn raid days when my dad hid Samoan overstayers in the bedroom closet."The same hiding of people is occuring today.
Fefiloi Ana, 36, an overstayer who was ordered to leave the country by today or be forcibly removed, has gone into hiding with her children, Ranford, 12, Mine, 11, and Misipeka, 7. The children, whose father died in a motorbike accident in 2004, were born in New Zealand and are entitled to stay as New Zealand citizens.Why is this happening?
Earlier this year she was ordered to leave after the immigration Removal Review Authority declined to make an exception on humanitarian grounds. Associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson declined to intervene, and now Children's Commissioner John Angus cannot investigate due to the lack of time.
With the current focus on building strong families, the deportation did not make sense, Ms Kim Barnden, a youth worker and Mine's basketball coach at Avalon Intermediate said. "Mrs Ana is very kind and the kids adore her. Breaking up any family is unhealthy and I don't think the welfare of the kids has been taken into consideration. They've lost their dad, what else do we want to put them through?"Those are fair questions and this persecution is totally unjust and must be stopped. Our pasifica cousins are welcome here - they are family and this practice of deportation and breaking up of families is unacceptable in any society. The family are hiding - they are scared and traumatised and we must support them.
The dawn raids were a blight on this country and the fear generated played into the authorities hands. They created distrust and set people against each other - based on ethnic origin and skin colour and today the same thing is happening.