Two past wrongs have been in the headlines this week, and they should give us all pause to reflect.
The dawn raids, carried out on Auckland homes in the mid-1970s, were a state-sanctioned crackdown on overstayers with police squads barging into homes when people were most likely to be asleep. Although making up only a third of the number of overstayers, Pacific Islanders were singled out for the raids, and also often stopped in the street and asked to justify their presence in the country.
Dr Melani Anae has described the dawn raids of 1974 and 1976 as "the most blatantly racist attack on Pacific peoples by the New Zealand government in New Zealand's history". The very people who had been recruited as affordable labour were given temporary visas to ensure they wouldn't overstay their welcome; some did and that led to a sledgehammer approach, literally, on the front doors of rightful citizens' homes.
This week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stood with the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, in Wellington to announce the Government would be issuing a formal apology for the raids.
In Auckland on the same day, Hake Halo gave evidence to a Royal Commission of Inquiry of his treatment as a teenager at the Lake Alice Child and Adolescent Unit, also in mid-1970s New Zealand. During a nine-month stay, Halo was subjected to electroconvulsive therapy and injections of paraldehyde - not as treatment but as punishment.
It was a coincidence that Halo was testifying at the same time as Ardern and Sio were holding their press conference. But it was no coincidence that a Pacific Island teenager and the Tongan and Samoan families asleep in their beds could equally be treated with such callous brutality. This was New Zealand, 46 years ago.
There are some who would rather these matters not be revisited, believing there is little to be achieved in judging incidents from the past against the morals of today. However, the wrongs of our shared past continue to be endured today. Halo Heke still struggles to hold down permanent work because of the anger which, at times and understandably, overwhelms him. Pacific Island families still fear a knock at the door in the early morning. The tears from Minister Sio this week testify to the enduring impact.
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Younger people especially want these issues acknowledged, as they must be in order for the country to grow out of the terrors that haunt too many of our people.
Yes, it's also smart politics. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is appeasing sections of the electorate. There is also the benefit of changing the course of the news cycle to dissipate disapproval at government performance in other areas. But it is also the right thing to do.
We have done many good works and provided world leaders in many fields. We should continue to celebrate these and take pride. But this country has been far from kind to many of its people and it is an essential step for our collective development to acknowledge this.