You are lying asleep in your bedin the home you own. It should be the most comfortable placebut, before the sun is up, police are knocking on your door and you will have to convince them you deserve to stay.
They're shining a torch into your face, holding back a German shepherd "frothing at the mouth".
It's 1974 and this is a dawn raid.If you can't prove who you are, you will likely be locked up and eventually deported.
New Zealand has achieved cult status as a progressive haven at the bottom of the world, but talk to Pacific Islander people and many will tell you about the 1970s and the "state-sanctioned racism" that ripped them from their homes.
The immense shame of the dawn raids lingers on both sides of politics and on the Pacific families that woke to that knock at the door.
Tomorrow, the New Zealand government will apologisebut, for onegroup of social justice revolutionaries, saying sorry is just the beginning.
Fifty years ago, a group of teenagers came together in Auckland for the inaugural meeting of the Polynesian Panthers.
The date was June 16, 1971 and the first generation of New Zealand-born Pacific people had decided to organise.
Supplied: John Miller
They were reading Bobby Seale, listening to Bob Dylan's "songs of protest"andwatching asthe Black Panthers forced the United States to reckon with its racist history.
Melani Anae was at that first meeting of the Polynesian Panthers. To become a member, she had to read Seize the Time the story of the Black Panther Party.
"When I read that book, I couldn't get over how much it mirrored what we as Pacific communitieswere living through," she said.
"Problems with housing, problems with education and problems with adjusting to a new life. And we really resonated with that and so we were totally in solidarity with the Black Panthers."
Now an associate professor of pacific studies at the University of Auckland, Dr Anae said she didn't realise it at the timebut becoming a Panther as a teenager would define her life.
"The Panthers were the first of the first. The first New Zealand-born Pacific generation," she said.
"We had no role models. Our parents who came to New Zealand were very respectful of authority. They wanted to be good citizens, but us New Zealand-borns knew something was wrong.
"So, as 17-year-olds we took it upon ourselves to form the Panthers to fight that racial injustice."
Maori people are indigenous to New Zealand, while people from island nations such as Samoa, Tonga and Fiji immigrated to the country.
Both Maori and Pacific people facedisadvantages and discrimination, but the Polynesian Panthers stand for the Pacific community.
Supplied: Stuff Limited
After World War II, the New Zealand government called for people from the Pacific Islands to come and fill the labour shortages, to do "the jobs ordinary New Zealanders didn't want to do".
"They invited us, so we came in droves," Dr Anae said.
"My parents came because they wanted a better life, but when the economic recession hit in the early 1970s the immigration policy suddenly changed and they didn't want us anymore."
Archives New Zealand:Gregory Riethmaier Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand Licence
Dr Anae said Pacific people then became the "scapegoats for successive governments, both Labor and National".
The political messagesfocussed"on the immigration of these brown people from the islands and that they were taking ordinary New Zealanders' jobs, and that they were criminalsand rapists and murderers", she said.
The government of the day was cracking down on "overstayers" people who were living in New Zealand illegally after their visas or work permits had expired.
Butimmigration officials were only targeting overstayers from Pacific island nations,when the bulk of people who were living in the country illegally were from Europe and North America. And the police enforcing the immigration warrants were terrorising Pacific communities.
Supplied: John Miller
The Panthers fought back. At a higher level, they fought against the narrative the government and media of the time had spunabout them. And at a grassroots level, they fought to genuinely improve the lives of those in their community.
"The crucible years, I believe, were 1971 to 1974,was when the Panthers were the strongest and fiercest, in terms of our membership, which had reached 500 people. That's when we put our community survival programs in place," Dr Anae said.
"We had homework centres, we had food co-ops, we had the PIG patrol the Police Investigation Group which stopped the police from harassing our communities just for being who we were."
Supplied: John Miller
The Panthers assigned portfolios to their members.
There were ministers for finance, cultural affairs and information. There was also a Tenants Aide Brigade.The Panthers' platform has always been "educate to liberate" and as Pacific people became targets for random police checks, the group made sure everyone knew their rights.
Supplied: John Miller
One of the lasting legacies of the 1970s-era Panthers is the group's contributionto legal aid in New Zealand.
A prominent lawyer helped produce the Polynesian Panthers' legal aid booklet, which was widely distributed among Auckland's Pacific community.
It was a revolution. For people who had been targeted by police to learn not just that they had legal rights, but specifically what they were, was powerful.
The lawyer who penned the legal advice wasDavid Lange. It would be another decade, but Lange became the 32nd prime minister of New Zealand.
People soon learned thatif a police officer didn't have his badge or hat on, he was not in full uniform and technically he could not make an arrest.
The "PIG Patrol" would be there to watch police, keeping an eye on their tactics and whether or not their uniform met standards as they tried to pull young Pacific Islander people off the street.
The Panthers were getting smarterand stronger. They were making a difference in their communities, but theywere agitating too.They came together to push back against racist policies and sometimes that got physical.
The Polynesian Panthers had a military wing. There were clashes with police and landlords, and a determination to be a force on the ground. Members of this faction were prepared to break the law and several of them did, serving time for rioting, illegal assembly and fighting police.
Founding memberWill Ilolahia has been quoted as saying: "Thething about the Panther it never attacks.
"But if it's attacked itself and it's caught in a situation that calls for self-defence, it will respond."
The most insidious of actions by the police, Dr Anae says, were the raids the New Zealand government will now apologise for.
"In 1974 to 1976 there was the horrendous state-sanctioned racism called the dawn raids," she said.
"The dawn raids targeted Pacific families. The theory was these families were likely to have overstayed visas and so police targeted them in the street, knocked on their doors in the early hours of the morning."
When New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the apology, Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito Sio stood beside her at the press conference.
"We were dawn raided," he said.
"The memories are of my father being helpless.We bought the home about two years prior to that and to have somebody knocking at the door in the early hours of the morning, with a flashlight in your face, disrespecting the owner of the home, with an Alsatian dog frothing at the mouth wanting to come in.
"It's quite traumatising."
For some Pacific families, their loved ones were picked up off the street and sent away without notice. For others, they were raided in the night and never told another soul.
It's only now that the government has announced it will apologise for the practice that the community has really started to open up.
Supplied: John Miller
Christine Nurminen was born in 1975 to Tongan parents who had come to Auckland to work.
Her childhood memories are underwritten by the fear her family lived through every day.She remembers being confused about her parents' anxiety and why they were always worried about dogs.
"We would be like 'why are we driving the long way around? Or why are these people on the property? Or why is everyone so anxious about the dogs?'" Ms Nurminen said.
"There was this constant language around the dogs. 'Don't let the girls play outside with the dogs, we've got to be worried about the dogs' but I knew we didn't own dogs and I was petrified."
Ms Nurminen said it was only as an adult that she came to learn about the dawn raids and how police used dogs to find anyone who might be hiding in the property.
"Every Tongan person I know always talks about the dogs," she said.
Her family had a strategy.
"All the women lived in one part of the house and all the men lived in one part of the house and they'd just take turns watching the door and watching for police," Ms Nurminen said.
"The thinking was, if we're going to be raided, at least the women feel safe together and there's no random male [police officer] coming through where they're sleeping."
Supplied: John Miller
Polynesian Panther member and Samoan New Zealander Alec Toleafoaremembers being targeted on the street the "blanket random checking on all people who were brown".
"We were required to carry proof we were entitled to be here lawfully," he said.
"In my case, and my siblings', we're only 13, 14, 15 at that time. We're all New Zealand-born, we've never travelled anywhere, why would we have a passport? I would be hoping like hell Iwould not be stopped and questioned because I had no evidence I was here legally.
"So when we saw police we knew there was a high likelihood we would not be going home that day."
MrToleafoa said it was the "brutal arm" of the police that pulled him towards the Panthers.
"[We would be] just walking along the street and then a patrol car pulls up, asks us a certain set of questions," he said.
"As soon as we reply we find ourselves in restraints and thrown in the car, taken away from our neighbourhood and given the beat down and then dropped back as if nothing had happened.
"That happened to me."
Ms Nurminen will be at the apology with her parents and her daughter.
She wants the next generation to know about the dawn raids, but "also that the story goes on" that the next chapter can be one where thisdark detailof New Zealand's history is spoken about openly and with a commitment "it won't ever happen again".
"It's an evening when we will hear some really hard truths, but she will be fortunate to hear that truth in a setting where we have the Prime Minister," she said.
Minister Sio agreed, saying the apology was about acknowledging the past for the sake of the future.
"I do not want my nieces and nephews to be shackled by that pain and to be angry about it. I need them to move forward and look to the future as peoples of Aotearoa," he said.
Supplied: John Miller
There is hope that the"intergenerational secrets" many Pacific families have kept for 50 years can start to be told and that as those painful memories are prised open, they are released. That these families can reckon with their stories.
"Now they understand, and will understand as time goes on as the apology and its significance unfolds, that itwas not their fault," Mr Toleafoasaid.
"They were encouraged by the government, and employers and the churches to stay beyond their permits the government turned a blind eye until the recession, then that nerve, that racist thread that runs through New Zealand history emerged and then all the dreams we had turned into nightmares."
Supplied: John Miller
Polynesian Panther members often say "once a Panther, always a Panther" and after 50 years they still have the same message: "Educate to liberate."
The Panthers pushed for the national apology and they want it to come with lessons about racism in New Zealand schools, scholarships for Pacific students and a commitment to truth-telling about what happened on their streets and in their homes in the 1970s.
"The expectation for us is that every person who goes to school, learns these stories and perhaps in the learning even just the hearing of these stories they might understand diversity.They might understand how better to relate to difference to cultural difference," Mr Toleafoa said.
"And perhaps with that understanding [they'll] be able to form better opinions than the ones that have been responsible for things like the dawn raids.
"We're hoping that this is going to, not just enhance, but transform race relations in New Zealand."
Other groups are pushing for different things. Some want reparations or compensation, others want amnesty for those who are still living in New Zealand illegally.
The Polynesian Panthers have fought for the rights of Pacific people for 50 years and the apology helps cement their legacy. They have had young people ask to join, but this is now a closed group.
They came together in a time and place that needed brave people to take big risks and, as the story of the Panthers is told and retold, it will become a legend that inspires the next generation.
"In my family, I'm still seen as that 'radical person'," Dr Anae said.
"We took that risk on, though, because we knew we had to change the world."
Special thanks to photographer John Miller, who has documentedNew Zealand's social justice movements for 50 years and gave the ABC access to his archive for this story.
Read this article:
- Battling Delta, New Zealand Abandons Its Zero-Covid Ambitions - The New York Times - October 7th, 2021
- New Zealand adding vaccination requirement as it prepares to reopen its international borders - USA TODAY - October 7th, 2021
- New Zealand Aims to Vaccinate Up to 350,000 People in a Day - The New York Times - October 7th, 2021
- New Zealand raises rates for first time in seven years, more to come - Reuters - October 7th, 2021
- Anger and grief: New Zealanders fearful as Covid elimination strategy ends - The Guardian - October 7th, 2021
- Pygmy pipehorse discovered in New Zealand given Mori name in world first - The Guardian - October 7th, 2021
- Putting Aotearoa on the map: New Zealand has changed its name before, why not again? - The Conversation AU - October 7th, 2021
- 'Good news in the offing': New Zealand rescheduling Pakistan tour, Ramiz Raja tells Senate body - DAWN.com - October 7th, 2021
- New Zealand to send Afghanistan 'special representative' to the Middle East - Stuff.co.nz - October 7th, 2021
- No cruising in New Zealand before October 2022, association reveals - Cruise Passenger - October 7th, 2021
- The vaccination rate for every suburb in New Zealand on one interactive map - The Spinoff - October 7th, 2021
- Everybody's Talking About... New Zealand cheese - Stuff.co.nz - October 7th, 2021
- Covid-19: UN worker medivaced to NZ is stable, but still in hospital 70 days on - Stuff.co.nz - October 7th, 2021
- NZ SailGP team battling on and off the water - Stuff.co.nz - October 7th, 2021
- New Zealand's Energy System Among The Best Globally | Scoop News - Scoop.co.nz - October 7th, 2021
- Lessons from New Zealand's good book; the Yellow Pages - Stuff.co.nz - October 7th, 2021
- Wales v New Zealand fixture under the microscope as it's branded 'stupidest game ever' - Wales Online - October 7th, 2021
- New Zealand: The struggle to find a decent home - Al Jazeera English - October 5th, 2021
- Covid: New Zealand reports jump in cases as opposition calls for opening up - The Guardian - October 5th, 2021
- Australia and New Zealand ruling elite demands population live with COVID-19 - WSWS - October 5th, 2021
- New Zealand to halt removal of 'at risk' children from families - Reuters - October 5th, 2021
- Timaru tragedy: Murder-accused mum Lauren Dickason back in court after tragic death of three daughters - New Zealand Herald - October 5th, 2021
- Gary Stead on T20 WC: Main goal is to get to the semi-finals - ESPNcricinfo - October 5th, 2021
- Be part of New Zealand's best commercial builds - Stuff.co.nz - October 5th, 2021
- New Zealand Maoris Kapa Haka wows audience at Expo - The National - October 5th, 2021
- Fisher Funds acquires Aon New Zealand's KiwiSaver scheme and Master Trust businesses - New Zealand Herald - October 5th, 2021
- Indonesia to reopen Bali to several international flights, including New Zealand - Stuff.co.nz - October 5th, 2021
- Government will require non-NZ citizens to have Covid vaccine before entering New Zealand - Stuff.co.nz - October 5th, 2021
- Inside Line: Another epic contest between South Africa and New Zealand shows why rivalry is so precious - Telegraph.co.uk - October 5th, 2021
- Covid:19 New Zealand falls 37 spots on global ranking of best places to be amid the pandemic - Stuff.co.nz - October 5th, 2021
- COVID-19: What New Zealand can learn from Ireland's leading vaccination campaign - Newshub - October 5th, 2021
- Cane returns to New Zealand squad for autumn Tests - RTE.ie - October 5th, 2021
- Grant Dalton: The stakes just raised in the America's Cup - Stuff.co.nz - October 5th, 2021
- Dad of 3 girls killed in New Zealand says he's forgiven wife - September 24th, 2021
- New Zealand Will Ease Covid Lockdown in Auckland - The New ... - September 24th, 2021
- New Zealand Covid update: Auckland to move out of level 4 ... - September 24th, 2021
- COVID-19 pandemic in New Zealand - Wikipedia - September 24th, 2021
- New Zealand men arrested for trying to smuggle KFC into Auckland - September 24th, 2021
- New Zealand says it may not get to zero COVID-19 cases again - Reuters - September 24th, 2021
- New Zealand is no off-grid safe haven from the apocalypse - The Guardian - September 24th, 2021
- Dad of 3 girls killed in New Zealand says he's forgiven wife - ABC News - September 24th, 2021
- Frustration for New Zealand returnees as Covid quarantine waiting list hits 30,000 - The Guardian - September 24th, 2021
- Pakistan Blames Politics as England and New Zealand Cricket Teams Cancel - The New York Times - September 24th, 2021
- Cathedral bells ring out as New Zealand welcomes godwits after longest migration - The Guardian - September 24th, 2021
- The delay to New Zealands emissions reduction plan is embarrassing we need action now - The Guardian - September 24th, 2021
- New Zealand family charters plane to fly to new life in Australia after weeks stuck in Aotearoa - Stuff.co.nz - September 24th, 2021
- Million-dollar drug bust: Royal New Zealand Navy-led team intercept Indian Ocean narcotics run - New Zealand Herald - September 24th, 2021
- Khawaja accuses New Zealand and England of double standards over cancelled Pakistan tours - The National - September 24th, 2021
- Heather Knights England century seals ODI series win over New Zealand - The Guardian - September 24th, 2021
- New Zealand is diversifying its orchestra - Slipped Disc - September 24th, 2021
- The most important three pieces of metal in New Zealand, explained - Stuff.co.nz - September 24th, 2021
- England chase down 245 to beat New Zealand in fourth womens ODI as it happened - The Guardian - September 24th, 2021
- New Zealands pandemic housing policy has baked in Mori inequality for generations - The Guardian - September 24th, 2021
- New Zealand cannot abandon its COVID elimination strategy while Mori and Pasifika vaccination rates are too low - The Conversation AU - September 24th, 2021
- Air NZ announces mandatory vaccination for more than 50 per cent of staff - Stuff.co.nz - September 24th, 2021
- New Zealand Expo 2020 pavilion designed as a 'living building' - The National - September 24th, 2021
- Westpac names Catherine McGrath as its New Zealand chief executive - Stuff.co.nz - September 24th, 2021
- Device used to send threat to New Zealand team belonged to India: Fawad - DAWN.com - September 24th, 2021
- America's Cup: Mark Dunphy disputes Team New Zealand's claims; remains committed to funding bid - New Zealand Herald - September 24th, 2021
- Health New Zealand and Mori Health Authority board members announced - Stuff.co.nz - September 24th, 2021
- New Zealand is not as clean or green as we think plastic waste is polluting our land - The Guardian - September 20th, 2021
- New Zealand director Jessica Hobbs wins Emmy for The Crown - The Guardian - September 20th, 2021
- The Deep Seas Near New Zealand Have Yielded 6 New Species of Bizarre Sponges - ScienceAlert - September 20th, 2021
- New Zealand Kids Discovered This Fossil of New Giant Penguin Species on a Field Trip - Smithsonian - September 20th, 2021
- The Kiwi who saved relationship with Rugby Australia, as private equity deals heat up - Fox Sports - September 20th, 2021
- New Zealand back on top of the world rankings after win over Argentina - The Guardian - September 20th, 2021
- America's Cup defence campaign: Mark Dunphy sees $40m shortfall part filled by more Government cash - New Zealand Herald - September 20th, 2021
- Strong winds force godwit migrating from Alaska to New Zealand to turn around - RNZ - September 20th, 2021
- Body found in Yellowstone National Park amid search for Gabby Petito - New Zealand Herald - September 20th, 2021
- Hundreds of Australians stuck in New Zealand as National Cabinet examines home quarantine for overseas arrivals - ABC News - September 20th, 2021
- India to host New Zealand, West Indies, Sri Lanka, South Africa in 4 Tests, 3 ODIs, 14 T20Is in 2021/22 - India Today - September 20th, 2021
- They dreamt for years of a new life in New Zealand - but after only a week their babies were dead - Stuff.co.nz - September 20th, 2021
- Blooming pest pops up on Tourism New Zealand website despite efforts to halt promotional pics of Russell Lupin - Stuff.co.nz - September 20th, 2021
- Confessions of a former Air New Zealand and Ansett flight attendant - Stuff.co.nz - September 20th, 2021
- On the money: Kate Sheppard and the making of a New Zealand feminist icon - Newshub - September 20th, 2021
- Police find six stolen snowboards, three firearms, hundreds of cannabis plants - New Zealand Herald - September 20th, 2021
- Karate New Zealand - HOME - September 16th, 2021
- New Zealand looks to boost COVID-19 vaccinations as new cases ease - Reuters - September 16th, 2021
- NZ says Australia's new nuclear submarines must stay out of its waters - Reuters - September 16th, 2021
- New Zealand Covid update: cases drop to 15 as Ardern unveils Mr Whippy-style vaccination buses - The Guardian - September 16th, 2021