Wellington's Pasifika community has reflected on the impact of the Dawn Raids after the Government's official apology over the weekend.
The Dawn Raids began in 1974 when the then Labour government, faced with an economic downturn, clamped down on people overstaying their working visas.
Samoans and Tongans - welcomed into New Zealand with open arms in the 1950s and 60s to relieve a huge labour shortage - became the scapegoats of rising unemployment, and were the main targets.
Police burst into homes at dawn across the country and Pasifika people were randomly stopped in the street.
Aloi Magele said he was a child aged around 7 when police came to his family's Porirua house three times.
"[I thought it was] quite scary, they [police] turn up in their vans, come up with their big silver torches just shining it through the house, banging on the doors."
Magele said the Dawn Raids had a big impact on the Pasifika community around Wellington.
"We were being accused and bullied at school, even from friends, they used to call us coconuts."
He said right up until today that has affected many people, with most not understanding until their late teens what the disrespectful names meant.
Magele told the Herald he recalled police giving them racist names.
"I remember one of the officers calling out 'you coconuts stop where you bloody are!' When they were running up the back [of a house]."
He said the apology for the raids is too late.
"The police really had a lot to do with the abuse of our people back in the day; they just didn't like Islanders. I can honestly say what I realise now, the police back then didn't like [us]. They used to call us coconuts, bongas but they didn't like us at all, period."
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said they recognise the hurt caused by the Dawn Raids and fully supports the Government's apology.
"We know the absence of humanity or empathy in our actions has left a lasting impact on the relationship between Pasifika peoples and NZ Police.
"Police is no longer the organisation it was in the 1970s. We have invested substantial effort over the last 10 to 20 years in building our cultural competence."
Coster told the Herald they understand how vital it is for communities and whānau to have trust and confidence in the way they police.
"We hope to continue to strengthen our connection with Pasifika communities in Aotearoa; to learn; and to right the wrongs of the past."
Senior Manager for Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens Lealamanu'a Aiga Caroline Mareko lived in Cannons Creek in Porirua when the Dawn Raids occurred.
Mareko said they had just moved to New Zealand so they were establishing themselves in the community.
"We lived in Cannons Creek at the time, attended the local Pacific church and they built their network of friends mainly through church and through work."
She said when they were young police came to their door asking who was in their house.
"My parents had their passports [and] their papers to show that they were legal residents of New Zealand."
They then asked if her parents knew anyone who was an overstayer, Mareko said.
"It was just the tone in the way that they approached my parents you could hear that it was more threatening."
Mareko's mother told her it was a terrible time because it created distrust among people.
"When they would go to church or in the community everyone's looking sideways at each other wondering who's told or who's talking to the police."
She said that the Dawn Raids were different in Wellington.
"We have heard all these experiences based on Auckland but we have never got the opportunity to talk about what actually happened here in Wellington [and] what actually happened in other parts of the country."
Mareko told the Herald the apology and the stories from the past are important, and there is a correlation with dealing with racism today.
"There is some correlation to the current climate when talking about racism, unconscious bias [and] systems that are not working for our communities [and that] there are some challenges that our communities face.
"I am pleased that there is an apology but going forward, how do we address the past?"
Massey University Educator Janice Ikiua-Pasi said she knew of an aunty's partner that was taken from his workplace and arrested before being deported.
"The family couldn't do anything and were given a date for when they would come and get him.
"The cops turned up two days early and sent him back to Samoa, and his child grew up not having any contact with his father."
She said her own father was impacted by the policies at the time.
"My Dad was stopped walking along Hanson St going to get bread for our family and he was questioned at great length as to who he was and where he was going, etc, however, my dad is from Niue so he was let go."
While Wellington was not the epicentre, the ripple effect was certainly felt, Ikiua-Pasi said
"Some people will freely talk about their experiences and others won't."
Former deputy Porirua mayor Litea Ah Hoi said she was about 11 when the Dawn Raids first occurred.
"My experiences during that time included watching my father hide a person in one of our bedroom cupboards."
She said back then she didn't understand why.
"I didn't know what a Dawn Raid was, I didn't realise it was police officers rounding up Pacific people until during my school years."
She said she was constantly teased and traumatised with the children at school calling her names such as "coconut" and "boonga".
She said she didn't realise that the connotations were the flow-on effects of the Dawn Raids.
Ah Hoi has memories of her dad telling her she needed to carry around identification papers wherever she went.
"[He would say] don't forget if you're going to go somewhere you need to carry around papers."
She recalls going to church following the Dawn Raids and the minister speaking at church warning people police could turn up at their doorstep.
"Police might turn up at your doorstep or knock on your door and ask you questions about whether you're here legitimately or not."
She said her street in Porirua was constantly visited by police.
For the Samoan community, many didn't understand why the Dawn Raids happened, and many were still feeling the effects of it today, she said.
"The prejudice of that is still occurring, and racism that is really very real is still happening, which is really, really sad."
Ah Hoi said any apology is welcomed but won't erase the pain, trauma and fear that Samoans and Tongans experienced.
"It will never reverse anguish, the sorrow and heartache of families that had to endure the Dawn Raids in their homes."
When asked what she would like to see besides an apology, Ah Hoi quoted an old Samoan proverb.
"E pala ma'a, ae le pala upu - translated simply, stones will rot, but words don't.
"This encapsulates how our older generations and my generation are feeling about the Dawn Raid era. It's etched in our DNA. It's forgiven but never forgotten."