Waatea News Column: The power of sorry


It was difficult to not weep at the formal apology for the Dawn Raids.

The ghosts of 5 decades banged their grief as Jacinda flanked by her Pacific and Maori Caucus were escorted by a Pacifica honour guard into the Town Hall.

From the cries of a challenge to a song of loving welcome, the audience sat in the dark and silence as a soundscape of the Dawn Raids were played with early morning banging, dogs barking and Police asking questions.

It was difficult not to weep as prayer was sung in the wake of that poignant immersion into time.

Jacinda was sitting, covered in humility and emerged into an embrace of forgiveness.

Peeni Henare performed the speech of his career.

Jacinda’s grace and dignity in her apology was another reminder that we have not seen the best of this remarkable leader yet and that her honest empathy for the damage the Dawn Raids caused makes her one of our unique Prime Ministers.

Her articulation of injustice and unwavering criticism of this shameful policy deserves an accolade.

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We were wrong to do this. We must atone for that wrong.

Jacinda started that process today.

Jacinda’s apology went beyond words with the offer of an official historical account of the Dawn Raid from the community alongside resources that can teach the Dawn Raids at schools, $1.2million into Pacifica education scholarships plus $1million into Pacifica leadership.

It was a day where the naked beauty and power of a genuine apology could heal all sides of injustice.

There is much still to do to unwind the current overstayer issues, a total amnesty would be a fitting response to a day as important as this.

First published on Waatea News.


  1. Yeah, I teared up through that.

    No-one else could have done that, either.
    She was absolutely the right person, and she represented all Kiwis with great dignity, sincerity and grace.

    • Yeah, well tear-up through this too then.
      Google billionaire Larry Page is a NZ resident, Government confirms
      “On Thursday evening a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) confirmed the world’s sixth richest man has Kiwi residency.”
      “Page, who founded Google with Sergey Brin in the 1990s, is the sixth-richest person in the world with a reported wealth of US$121b (NZ$171b).”
      So that must mean that poverty, homelessness and starving kids in a country that can feed 40 million is a thing of the awful past now that harry’s here to chip in? Gee thanks labour? Thanks for nothing you fake fuckers. At least with national, they know that we know they’re arse holes and yet make no pretense about being anything else but arse holes.

      • What on earth has that got to do with the simple statement of “Sorry”?
        With the beginning of lifting the grief and pain caused by the Dawn Raids?

  2. Herein lies the mistakes the left are committing. The theatrics on display during this appealed to a certain part of New Zealand. That NZ doesn’t incorporate the middle/sheeple who are desperately trying to get a jab so they can get on a place and head for the GC for a week in the sun.

    Would Helen Clarke allow herself to be in the submissive position the Blairite was. No.

    If vaccinated covid mortality continues to sit at less than a 3rd of a percent – the fear goes, the empathy disappears and the politics of greed and “what’s in it for me” returns.

    This just reinforces the workborg culture that has infected NZ politics over the past 18 months.

    • Helen did not have to deal with a worldwide pandemic.
      Or an horrific massacre. Or a time when the monster committing that massacre could livestream it to the world.
      Or a volcanic eruption that ripped the flesh off many as they died.
      Helen did not go through pregnancy and childbirth while PM.
      Helen did not govern during a time when the world finally had to wake up and deal with the fact that Climate Change has tipped us over the edge.
      Helen did not have to pick up the broken pieces of our country after it had been smashed by nine years of plutocratic exploitation, including the sale of many of our homes to people in foreign lands who often bought them primarily for speculation.

      There are a million more people packed into AO/ NZ since Helen was PM (ref Bert). One fifth of the population that we have here now are ‘imported’. Helen did not have to deal with that level of assimilation of new arrivals with their different cultures.

      Helen’s governance was in an earlier era, a past century, a different millennium.

      • Helen’s governance was in an earlier era, a past century, a different millennium.

        Was FROM an earlier era, from a different millennium.
        Now, the 21st Century is forcing us to deal with problems which, even in Helen’s last years as PM, were not evident, or were still being denied.

  3. I remember when David Lange entered the political arena when he had a meeting in Wellington protesting the dawn raids. His move into politics ended with him becoming Prime Minister. He could have as Prime Minister made the apology. Someone in the ‘public service’ must have persuaded him otherwise.

  4. It is nice to know we have apologised to Polynesians for the injustices of the past.
    Not so nice to know we still imprison them in disproportionate numbers to the rest of the population.
    I suppose we can apologise for that too at some undetermined time in the future.

    • You are right Stevie. The proportion is just not right! So for the sake of this debate let’s stick only to serious crime here:
      So we shouldn’t imprison anyone who does those crimes? Or should we only imprison pakeha who do those crime? Or should we find more pakeha to imprison? Would that balance it for you? ‘Do the crime do the time’ no longer applies? Is that what you want? Or should it be ‘Don’t do the crime so you don’t do the crime’? Is a pakeha murderer more guilty than non-pakeha murderer? Should we imprison one for one – one Polynesian for one pakeha – to get the proportions correct? I am confused.

      • Not too many Polynesian imprisoned for White collar crime. Most white collar crimes don’t end in conviction because someone is “paid off.” Should we allow our same Polynesian friends the same along with name suppression as white collar criminals do?

      • Many Maori and Polynesians are being sent to court while others are being given warnings. Your opinions could be influenced if you just looking at the numbers in prison without understanding you have to be charged and go to court first, there in lies a major reason for the statistics, with the police acknowledging themselves there is a bias. Hope this helps with your confusion.

      • So we shouldn’t imprison anyone who does those crimes?

        Nope, only those who cannot afford the mega $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$s charged by “lawyers” who’s sole intent is to “win” their case, regardless of who did what.

  5. It has all the depth and resonance of an apology from Oranga Tamariki or the Resrve Bank.
    We have lost the word “real”…

  6. Arresting people for no reason is wrong. Not sure why the woke are so keen then to criminalise free speech. With Christian views, could be Dawn Raids 2021 https://www.tiktok.com/@jesuspreachingnz/video/6986750398782622977

    Funny how Jacinda can’t say sorry about current abuses and mistakes, such as the NZ child torture victims, oranga tamariki victims, the growing homeless/in emergency housing, the disabled who can’t even get support workers turning up or a dental appointment, people not being able to access health care with a 30,000 waiting list, which the government has direct control of.

    No lessons learnt from Fiji, aka NZ opening up the borders to Sāmoa, Tonga and Vanuatu without MIQ and could be catastrophic for them (and us) as there are people who are gaming the system and flying to countries to avoid quarantines and hide their original departure country.

    How Fiji got so bad.

    “From July 2020 to April 2021, Fiji only recorded cases from managed quarantine facilities at the border as repatriation flights brought stranded citizens back home. This has allowed the country to relax its COVID-19 restrictions to boost its economic recovery however on 19 April 2021, Fiji confirmed its first community case as a result of a breach in protocol.[3] In response, the township of Nadi and the city of Lautoka went into a lockdown and previous health restrictions were re-imposed all over the country with the national curfew restored. As local transmission cases soared exacerbated by the Delta variant, the Government sealed off the main island of Viti Levu establishing Suva, Lautoka, Nadi, Nausori, Rakiraki and Lami as containment areas which meant that over 70% of the population was now in lockdown. The government also activated FEMAT (Fiji Emergency Medical Assistance Team) in Suva and Lautoka. The virus penetrated prominent hospitals of Fiji including the Fiji CDC and the headquarters of the Ministry of Health which prompted senior health officials to go into self isolation. High number of cases continue to be recorded from the Western and Central division, with daily records being broken almost every second day. Despite this, the government has ruled out any possibility of a nationwide lockdown adding that their directive would be on targeted lockdowns instead.[4]”

    • So, by your reasoning, the PM should do nothing at all until she can do everything immediately.


  7. No-doubt I’ll get jumped on by the race police but my problem with this whole story is the lack of media balance. Yes the way these people were treated was pretty disgusting but the one thing that hasn’t been covered is that many were here illegally and had no intension of going home once here. The police, at the time were told to round these temporary workers up and because they couldn’t be found during the day the police in their stupidity decided to drag them out of bed at 3am. Stupid and racist yes, but did these people and their descendants have a right to be here. Maybe now but not then. The way they were treated was deplorable but they weren’t without guilt even though the media is portraying them that way.

    • @new view – I do not criticise you for your view which raises an interesting point. I wasn’t born back then so I asked my dad’s friend who is a retired police detective who was in the police then and he said that there were overstayers back then but there was a disproportionate focus on Pasifika people and not other foreign national overstayers. He said that New Zealand brought Pasifika people over here to work in the factories and the freezing works but when some of them overstayed their permits, mainly so they could keep earning money to send back to family members in the islands, or to try and get their children educated here, the government ordered the cops to round them up and send them home.

      I think the deeper issue here is the way the cops acted back then. Their actions towards Pasifika people highlighted an ingrained and very deep racist attitude in the police at the time which manifested itself in the general manner they treated Pasifika e.g. randomly going up to them on the street and demanding proof that they were entitled to be in New Zealand. I read an article in the NZ Herald recently which profiled the new head of the police Pacific Affairs division – Willi Fanene who himself was stopped by cops when he was a teenager and asked for proof that he was lawfully in New Zealand –

      So you are so right when you say the police were stupid and racist in the way they acted and their treatment of Pasifika was deplorable but it is not as simple as saying some of them were here illegally and had no intention of going home. In saying that, your comment is thought provoking.

      • Initiated by Labour, started by Labour, yet the Pasifika community overwhelmingly vote Labour?

        Seems like the South Auckland Polynesian population never minded in the first place.

        • @Bg – I would say that the Pasifika people did mind. Look at the birth of the Polynesian Panther movement during that time. Without that movement the Pasifika people did not have a voice and even with the voice of the movement, the oppression of the Pasifika people by the state and by the cops was overwhelming.

          When minorities are overwhelmed by the state and the forces of the state as Pasifika people were, highlighted by the dawn raids, any voice they have is also overwhelmed by the blanket of racism and abuse which they suffered.

          • any voice they have is also overwhelmed by the blanket of racism and abuse which they suffered.

            Exactly! Beginning with the ‘laws’ that denied access and free movement to some while allowing others to come and go at will, – NOT according to their character or their achievements, but according to the colour of their skin and their ethnic group.

            “Breaking the law” some say. The laws as such were racist, or at least highly discriminatory, – unjust, unfair, and oftentimes inhumane. There has to be a foundation of fairness, of justice, for the justice system to work.

            A justice system that requires or mandates injustice, becomes unworkable, dysfunctional. It is not then individuals who are “breaking the law”. The law itself is, or was, already broken.

  8. Anna Fifield, editor and owner of the DomPost, said on ‘The Nation’ a week ago that “I can’t remember Jacinda Adern apologising for anything” and then, “I think she’s not known for getting it wrong on anything”.

    What concerning and stupid ignorance from a person who should know a hell of a lot better! I assume she reads her paper and has at least some knowledge of recent events of national significance?

    At least the very least, six times the PM has made a formal, public apology on various matters, since taking office. A cursory look at internet sources confirms it.

  9. You are right Stevie. The proportion is just not right! So for the sake of this debate let’s stick only to serious crime here:
    So we shouldn’t imprison anyone who does those crimes? Or should we only imprison pakeha who do those crime? Or should we find more pakeha to imprison? Would that balance it for you? ‘Do the crime do the time’ no longer applies? Is that what you want? Or should it be ‘Don’t do the crime so you don’t do the crime’? Is a pakeha murderer more guilty than non-pakeha murderer? Should we imprison one for one – one Polynesian for one pakeha – to get the proportions correct? I am confused.

      • Either you don’t live here in NZ, or you have not been here very long at all. Or, you suffering memory loss.

        Who’s home have you taken, I wonder…

        • Of course he doesn’t remember the many people evicted from state houses during the National government under the false claims that the houses were meth contaminated.

  10. How about apologising for making so many Polynesians living in NZ homeless through your sinister housing policies Saint Jacinda?

  11. So what does this mean when there have been 260 Dawn Raids and deportations so far this year.

    They haven’t stopped.

    • I don’t think that Dawn Raids of old can be compared with trying to get rid of criminals, (mostly unsuccessfully). But keep banging that drum to help the criminals!

      Criminals released back into communities after stalled deportations

      “A Christchurch woman is fighting to keep her rapist behind bars until he can be deported – but he may be released on parole to live in the community while he waits for a flight home.

      He will join a number criminals who are subject to deportation orders who have been released from prison but have been unable to leave New Zealand due to Covid-19 restrictions, The New Zealans Herald has revealed.

      The Christchurch woman is desperate to keep her rapist locked up.”

      “Immigration New Zealand confirmed that since March last year, as Covid-19 cases started to take hold and the national lockdown was announced, 66 people have been deported after serving time in prison.

      Eight people subject to deportation orders remain in the country awaiting flights – five in the community and three in custody under WOCs.

      They are from Samoa, Sudan, Fiji, Tonga, Vietnam, Tuvalu and Iraq.

      Those living in the community and are subject to court-imposed or other residential and reporting conditions.”

      But keep up the woke tears for crims and get Natz and ACT back and drop Labeen 18% while making NZ a place where victims of crime are further victimised by attackers not being punished and the streets not safe!

  12. Fast forward 45 years.

    The PM has apologised for the governments whose wilful intransigence and inaction ensured generations of their people were left homeless, without hope, bereft and at the will of market forces.

  13. New View you are correct.
    The police were following the law introduced by the Labour Party?
    Was the law fair is a separate issue.

  14. TheKraut you say,” I am confused’.
    IT SHOWS !
    Extend your reading beyond ‘Mein Kampf’ and do a little research and your confusion may end.
    Look at the court cases; Rich white kids get drunk, do stupid stuff and get diversion because a criminal record would harm their future employment prospects in white collar jobs.
    Poor brown kids get drunk, do stupid stuff, and get jailed because their employment prospects do not matter.
    I could try telling you more but there is that bit about ‘answer not a fool according to his folly lest thou liken him to a wise man.'( translate’don’t waste time on confused fuckwits)

  15. Te Kraut obviously hasn’t been to court or experienced the deeply embedded racisms in our justice system. And we all know not all people have fair and equal access to the best lawyers who can get them a lighter sentence like home detention. If we look at pedophilia who are over represented in this category Te Kraut, many being clergy who escaped justice for too many years leaving traumatised victims with governments and social agencies having to pick up the pieces.

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