Joris de Bres

Dutch New Zealander

Joris de Bres was Secretary of the Citizens’ Association for Racial Equality (CARE) when the first dawn raids took place in 1974. He was an active campaigner against the dawn raids and other forms of racism in Aotearoa during this period. He was born in the Netherlands and came to Aoteraroa in 1954. He studied at Auckland University, the Free University of Berlin and Oxford University. He was Head of Industrial Relations in the PSA, the largest public sector union, and General Manager, External Relations, in the Department of Conservation, before serving as Race Relations Commissioner from 2002-2013.

Government sanctioned racism: The impact and legacy of the dawn raids

"Pacific people were welcomed to Aotearoa in the 1950s and 1960s to relieve a huge labour shortage. With rising unemployment in the 1970s and 1980s in a government turnaround they were targeted by a crackdown on Pacific overstayers called the dawn raids.

These operations involved police squads conducting raids on the homes and workplaces throughout Aotearoa usually at dawn. Overstayers and their families were often prosecuted and then deported. Although Pacific Islanders only made up one-third of all overstayers, they accounted for 86% of those arrested and prosecuted. The majority of overstayers were from Great Britain, South Africa and the United States. "

Joris de Bres