The Government will today deliver a formal apology, validating the traumatic experiences of Pacific peoples who endured the 1970s dawn raids, led by successive Labour and National rule.
It comes after two Pacific men launched a petition supporting the Polynesian Panthers call on the Government to apologise.
It attracted 7366 signatures and was delivered by Josiah Tualamali'i and Benji Timu on June 23, and accepted by Te Pāti Māori leaders Debbie Ngarewa-Packer and Rawiri Waititi.
The immigration dawn raids of the mid-1970s disproportionately targeted people of Pasifika heritage, suspected of overstaying their visas.
Tualamali'i says while he is of a much younger Pasifika generation, "Pasifika generations feel the ripples of it personally".
"The tentacles of that hurt and things that perpetuate the past, means that the past isn't in the past."
Tualamali'i has a background in mental health advocacy and says the trauma it caused was the reason he decided to support the Panthers and elderly Pasifika who endured the dawn raids.
"I don't think it's fair that our kaumātua stand alone in calling for the change that's needed. Our generation speak and support, we encourage others to do that too."
Timu, who also helped lead the petition alongside Tualamali'i, wrote in an open letter to the Prime Minister: "Aggressive reinforcement epitomised the police as an organisation, creating a further distrust in the government, still prevalent today".
"The past is implied as forgiven and forgotten; however, the effects of the past still linger in the fabric of our identity 50 years on."
Tuamali'i reflected on the now-disbanded police armed response teams, which members of the Māori and Pasifika communities said unfairly targeted areas they lived in.
"They were not established in Pākehā communities. They were armed and not trained adequately to be in our communities."
"That's the level that the state has always treated Pacific peoples.
"It made me feel deeply uncomfortable. Many of them have not lived the same experiences or understand who we are."
Timu told the Herald addressing this part of history and issuing an apology would be the foundation towards Pasifika growth in New Zealand.
The petition also requested that Parliament come together and hold a special debate, which is set to kick off just days after the apology.
It's said to be a "unique" conversation in which leaders reflect on the history of the dawn raids.
"In 100 years' time, people can look back and see that this is a stake in the ground. The National Party have very strongly come out saying this should never have happened. Both sides of Parliament were there at the time, both participated in this.
Tualamli'i said an apology, although doesn't cleanse the history of what's been done, can certainly validate the trauma of those with lived experiences of the raids.
"I think it'll send a few messages," he said, adding: "this is all happening because of the unity of our communities".
He hopes it will open more avenues to exploring New Zealand's role and influence in the Pacific.
Part of the petition process also suggests a legacy fund to allow education on the dawn raids to be taught in schools.
"It's about knowing a more complete story, a stronger story because it's more accurate - a story which helps ensure we make better decisions.
"You need the historical knowledge to know not to make the same mistakes."
Tualamali'i who only learned of the dawn raids history in university, says he hopes teaching it will become compulsory.
The Polynesian Panther Party has been conducting an "Educate to Liberate" tour across the country, where the members travel to schools and share the history of the dawn raids.
"It would be wrong if [they] have to keep self-funding or partially self-funding to do the work. It would dishonour the work they've done."
Tuamali'i is hopeful that the apology will become so visible and "so well broadcast" across the country, that no New Zealander can miss that it's happened.
"Some people may never understand it. People will go to work and this won't change their lives."
"But I encourage them to understand this: This is real hurt, it might not have happened to your family, but the principle is an important one, that it shouldn't happen to any family."