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Josiah Tualamali'i

Salelesi, Satuiatua, Lepa, Aufaga and Fagaloa - Samoa

Josiah is an activator for mental wellbeing, equity and Pasifika leadership, he is the youngest person to have been a panel member of a Government Inquiry (Mental Health and Addictions 2018) and that same year accompanied Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to Samoa, Niue, Tonga and the Cook Islands to represent New Zealand’s young Pacific people. In 2016, he received the Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Award for Leadership and Inspiration. Born in Dunedin and of Samoan Pākehā heritage, Josiah’s goal is to foster social agency, ensuring all New Zealanders’ voices are heard. A postgraduate student, he co-led the petition to parliament to #TautokoThePanthers calling for recognition of the dawn raids and successfully sought an apology from the Government.

Reconciliation and the complexities of saying sorry

The journey to the Dawn Raids Apology.

2024 marks 50 years since the early morning Dawn Raids on Pacific families began, as part of a scapegoating of Pacific Peoples when economic downturn hit New Zealand. At the time a third of undocumented people were Pacific Peoples and yet 86% of the arrests and deportations were of Pacific communities. Pacific Peoples, tangata whenua and peoples of colour many of whom were New Zealand citizens, also experienced random checks on their citizenship from Police.

In 2021 the New Zealand Government apologised for the Dawn Raids responding to the call from the Polynesian Panther Party Legacy Trust. Young people organised a letter, email campaign, and petition supporting the apology as well as calling for a Special Parliamentary debate on it. In 2023 Pacific communities found that tactics which reminded them of the Dawn Raids were continuing to be used and pushed for reforms.

Josiah Tualamali’i will talanoa about the significance and symbolism of the Dawn Raids apology ceremony, cross generational solidarity to get it, and where we are now.

Josiah Tualamali'i
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