During the 1950's through to the 1960's after the post war economic boom, many Pacific Islanders immigrated to New Zealand with their families in search of a new and better life and as part of a cheap labour work scheme which included many factory based jobs. Many of these people came from the islands of Tonga, Samoa and Fiji. The majority were living in Auckland which quickly became the largest Polynesian City in the world. Many of these immigrants had already overstayed their visa on either visiting or temporary permits but it did not matter as the Immigrant agency had turned a blind eye to this. Polynesians were faced with the hardships of having to adapt to culture change, poverty, climate, discrimination, and often feeling as if they were being treated as 2nd class citizens.
Decline in the New Zealand Economy
The late 1960's to early 1970's saw a decline in the New Zealand economies which soon quickly lead to high rates of unemployment, crime, and other social hardships. This meant that there was no longer a need for Pacific Islanders in the workforce and the Labour Government from 1974 would soon target them in an attempt to decrease the large number of over-stayers that there currently were. Pacific islanders, especially Samoan and Tongan immigrants, became targets to the random police checks. Samoans, Tongans, and Fijians became heavily targeted as those from the Cook Islands, Tokelau, and Niue were New Zealand citizens. This was seen as unfair as Pacific Islanders were unfairly targeted out of the population even though there were many over-stayers from countries such as Britain, South Africa, and Canada. These random police checks included Police demanding ID and papers that identified you as either a New Zealand citizen or that your visa still permitted you to live in the country. Police were criticized for these random checks as they specifically targeted those of brown skin. This was seen as unjust as many Maori were also targeted by these random checks because the police specifically targeted Polynesian immigrants and any that looked like them.
A Change in Government
Robert Muldoon and the National Party coming into power saw an increase of prejudice and discrimination towards Polynesians. He continued Labour's attempts in 1974 to reduce the number of Polynesians illegally over-staying in New Zealand. There was no a wide spread feeling towards immigrants from overseas amongst the New Zealand public and Polynesians were dealt with harshly by the government and police. Muldoon and many other New Zealanders blamed the Polynesians for their troubles such as the economic crash, poverty, civil disobedience and drunk behavior. Polynesians were portrayed in the media as being wife beaters and drunks who created problems for New Zealand and the police. The dawn raids would soon be conducted by the police in order to catch out these illegal immigrants who they once allowed to enter
New Zealand freely.
New Zealand freely.
- Polynesians from the islands of Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji came to New Zealand between the 1950's and 60's as part of the Post War cheap Labour work scheme.
- They faced having to adapt to New Zealand culture and faced hardships such as poverty, poor housing, and racial discrimination.
- The early 1970's saw the crash of the New Zealand economy. This was known as the 'Economic Crisis'.
- Many people including many of the Polynesians faced unemployment and social issues soon spread across New Zealand.
- The Labour government decided to become tougher on immigrants currently living in New Zealand and set police up to conduct random checks on immigrants (mostly Polynesians) for visas.
- Polynesians were told to go home and it seemed as if they were now unwanted by New Zealand and were blamed for many of the economic and social issues.
- A change in Government to National saw Robert Muldoon setting up a special police task force as part of the Dawn Raids on Polynesian peoples houses.