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Dawn Raids (New Zealand)

22 Jun 2016

Our Subjects / Ā Mātou Kaupapa:
History, Society and culture

Where can I find information about the Dawn Raids that occurred in New Zealand in the 1970s?

LEVEL: Secondary

The dawn raids were undertaken by the New Zealand Police to find, detain and deport Pacific Islanders who had allegedly overstayed their visitor or work visas. The dawn raids got their name because the Police often went into the homes of Pacific Islanders in the early hours of the morning to look for the alleged overstayers. Many of the Pacific Islanders detained were New Zealand citizens or permanent residents

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

Start by searching using the keywords dawn raids. You will see that the information is spread across several sections, especially the article about Ethnic and Religious IntoleranceCheck each section for information on the dawn raids. Repeat your search using the keyword overstayers to get more. You will notice that you don't get exactly the same information. This is why it's good to try different keywords when researching online.

On the last page of each story will be a page called 'external links and sources'.  This will give you a list of the sources the author used to write the article. It's a quick way to find additional in-depth material on this topic.  

NZHistory is a great website for information about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we go all the way down the page we can see that the website also belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage. Their articles on the dawn raids are shorter than those in Te Ara but also name the sources that they consulted to write the articles. Both of these online encyclopedias have images and links to video clips on their topics. 

One really excellent source of information is documentaries. Check out NZOnScreen has a full length documantary about the dawn raids which you can watch online in four parts. This is a great way to get a real feeling for the events of the past, listen to interviews of people who were involved at the time.

HOT TIP: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the ‘about us’ link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

We also really like DigitalNZ, a search site that focuses on New Zealand history and brings together results from lots of different websites. It’s an easy way of searching online resources from New Zealand libraries, museums, universities and government sites all at once, and has lots of primary sources. The results are grouped by the type of information, like images, videos, newspapers, articles and research papers. Use the keywords 'dawn raids' to bring up some good results but you will need to be careful as some of the results refer to the New Zealand record label by the same name.  

HOT TIP: For more information check out our other ManyAnswers entries on immigration or the High Interest Topic on Immigration to New Zealand on the National Library Services to Schools website. 

Any mor answers about dawn raids
cherish, Kelston intermediate

Kia ora Cherish! There is lots of info about the Dawn Raids on these websites, but it's sometimes a bit hard to find :/ Sometimes books from your school or local library can have more information too.
If you would like help finding what you need, try chatting with a librarian on They're available Monday to Friday 1-6pm and are very happy to help with questions like this. :) All the best with your project!
Sargia, AnyQuestions

how did the dawn raids happen?
kaya, tangaroa college

how come it dosnt show the perspectives of the police?
yoshibear, Tangaroa college

What were the consequences of the Dawn Raids?
Bea, Niue High School

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School / Kura

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