Collection Highlights for June 2021
16 June 2021
June 16th 2021 marked the 50th anniversary of the inaugural meeting of the Polynesian Panther Party. The Panthers were founded in response to the inequality and racism faced by Pasifika people in New Zealand and were inspired by the American Black Power movement.
The Polynesian Panthers developed a platform focused on ending racism, the exploitation of workers, unfair immigration policies, police harassment, an unfair court system and substandard housing. They called for the education system to teach history accurately and represent all in a multicultural society. Support for Māori land rights and solidarity with other oppressed groups was also part of the platform.
Best known for their actions in response to the Dawn Raids, their activities included education, community support, consciousness raising and direct action. This included running homework centres, visiting prisoners, distributing legal information booklets to make Pacific Islanders - particularly youth - aware of their rights in relation to police harassment on the streets. The scrutiny of police action included the PIG Patrol (Police Investigation Group).
The Panthers continue their awareness raising projects now with an Educate to Liberate programme bringing the history of Pacifica people in Aotearoa into schools and continuing to call for changes to the education system.
The Library has several books on the Polynesian Panthers.
Phone: +64 3 369 4499 (extn 94499)