The Dawn Raids: Education to Liberate

Dawn Raid

The University of Canterbury is proud to host:


A powerful, insightful exhibition which seeks to inform people about a little-known event in New Zealand history.

Inspired by producer Pauline Smith’s book, DAWN RAID, part of the My New Zealand Story series (Scholastic), this exhibition gives a brief account of the dawn raids of the 1970s in Aotearoa New Zealand. It documents the courageous activities of the Polynesian Panthers and their fight for social justice.

In the mid-1970s, people from the Pacific Islands were targeted by the New Zealand Government and scapegoated for the economic crisis of the time. The Government introduced the practice of dawn raids, allowing police and immigration officials to break into the homes of Pacific Island people in the early hours of the morning and demand proof of residency, permits, and passports. This was a terrifying and humiliating experience for many people.

Exhibition Events

Dawn Raids exhibition

  • Official Launch
    Friday 27 September 2019, 5.15pm
    University of Canterbury
    Undercroft 101
    Numbers are limited so rsvp to as soon as possible

  • Public Talks

    From the producer - Pauline Smith
    Wednesday 25 September, 2pm - 3pm
    University of Canterbury
    Te Puna Ako Level 4,
    Puaka James Hight Central Library

    Saturday 28 September, 10.30am - 12pm
    Turanga Library
    60 Cathedral Square, Christchurch City

    Pauline Smith and Polynesian Panthers
    Thursday 26 September, 5.30pm
    University of Canterbury
    C2 Lecture Building

    The Polynesian Panthers
    Saturday 28 September, 1pm
    University of Canterbury
    Undercroft Seminar Room 101
  •  Polynesian Panel Discussion for Students
    Friday 27 September, 12pm - 1pm
    University of Canterbury
    Te Moana Nui a Kiwa Room