Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern has apologized to Pacific Islanders for immigration policy in early 1970s. The policy was known as Dawn Raids. These involved police with dogs waking up Pacific Islanders in early hours of morning to deport them. Pacific Islanders are from islands in South Pacific such as Tahiti, Tonga, Samoa and Fiji. Over 65,000 Pacific Islanders relocated to New Zealand for work to help fill shortage of workers. The Dawn Raids focused on those who allegedly overstayed their visas. Police deported them and put their children in government care homes. Most over-stayers at that time were from UK, South Africa and Australia.
Ms Ardern expressed her government's "sorrow, remorse and regret" over raids. She took part in traditional Samoan forgiveness ceremony as part of her apology. She was covered with large white mat to show forgiveness. Ardern said people still suffered from memories of the raids, and that "they live on [today] in disruption of trust and faith in authorities". She told Islanders: "The treatment of your ancestors was wrong." Ardern said Islanders in New Zealand today still "suffer scars" from the discriminatory policy. Tongan princess thanked Ardern for apologizing for "inhumane and unjust" treatment of her people. She said apology was " new dawn for my community".