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Professor Damon Salesa

Satapuala, Falealupo/Neiafu

Damon Salesa is a scholar of Pacific politics, history, technology, culture and society. He is a prizewinning author of works on the Pacific, New Zealand, race and politics. He is the author of Island Time: New Zealand’s Pacific Futures (2017), and jointly edited and authored Tangata o le Moana: New Zealand and the People of the Pacific (Te Papa Press, 2012). His 2012 book Racial Crossings won the Ernest Scott Prize. He is a graduate of the University of Auckland, and completed his doctorate at Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar. A Samoan born and raised in Glen Innes, he hails from Satapuala and Falealupo. He taught for a decade at the University of Michigan before joining Auckland University as head of Pacific Studies. He became Auckland’s Pro Vice Chancellor Pacific in November 2018, the first Pacific Pro Vice Chancellor in New Zealand.

Government-sanctioned racism: The origin, 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. "

Professor Damon Salesa
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