Aftermath and the Dawn Raids Significance
The dawn raids had seen many Polynesian families, friends, and loved ones deported back to the Pacific after they were deported during the raids and checks conducted by the New Zealand Police. Many of these people would never return back to New Zealand. For others, it would take years before they were able to legally return back to New Zealand as during the 70's there was a feeling that they were no longer wanted and the now strict rules for immigrants. The Polynesian Panthers did not see the raids as the end and still wanted to continue to help their Pacific community and the issues that many still faced.
After the dawn raids were brought to an end, this was not the end to many issues that New Zealand was facing. New Zealanders including Polynesians had now seen the unfair treatment that was laid towards the Polynesians.
Many Polynesians were still living in poor housing conditions and there was an ill feeling towards the Government because of the poor treatment they received.
The Polynesian Panthers along with many of the other Pacific people soon became heavily involved with groups such as Nga Tamatoa (who helped the Panthers during the raids) to help them fight against disputes with the government over land and Maori grievances. An example of this was the Bastion Point occupation. Polynesians saw that the treatment the Maori had received from the government was not so different as to how they had been treated during the early and mid 70's.
The significance of the Dawn Raids on New Zealanders was that it showed the issues surrounding New Zealand's system on immigration and how contradictory it had been towards the Polynesian people who had come to work for them. Although the dawn raids had mostly negative connotations, some good did come out of it. They gave a voice for Pacific people to fight against discrimination towards them. It allowed them to join together as one and not as separate Polynesian nations to work together to help their social hardships. Many Polynesians like Will 'Ilolahia and Tigi Ness went on to become activists and spokespeople for Polynesian rights but also other New Zealand peoples rights. They were also involved in conflicts like the Springbok Tour and Bastion Point as it had to do with racial issues like the dawn raids.
The dawn raids today have had an affect on New Zealanders, especially among the Polynesian community. The music record company "Dawn Raid" was named after the dawn raids as one of its founding members had family who had been discriminated against during the raids. The Auckland festivals "Pasifika" and the "Polynesian Festival" are held every year to celebrate Polynesian culture and identity in New Zealand. Polynesians have had a big impact and influence on New Zealand culture and life since the dawn raids and continue to hold the largest Polynesian population in the world.
Although the dawn raids ended decades ago, they still hold a place in the minds of those who were involved, experienced, and lived through it.