A key theme from the lecture was racism and how the Pink Panthers used positive activism to create social change. The Pink Panthers focused on supporting Pacific Islander’s rights through education in order to “raise their quality of life” (Reid). They organised events to benefit the community and stood up to the disgraceful actions of the New Zealand government and police through positive, peaceful protests (Reid).
An advertisement released in 1975 by the National Party shows the racist approach the New Zealand government took towards Pacific Islanders in relation to illegal immigration and economic factors. This advertisement targets Polynesians as aggressive and violent characters who are over-populating New Zealand which is resulting in an economic crisis and unemployment (Anae 228).
The documentary Dawn Raids showcases the disgraceful way in which the NZ government targeted alleged Polynesian overstayers in the 1970’s through random police checks on the street and early morning raids on houses (Fepulea’i). Dawn Raids shows how racism was very much a part of Aotearoa’s history and how activists (the Polynesian Panthers) and the media were able to change the way authority figures singled out the Pacific Island community (Fepulea’i).
Anae, Melanie. Unemployment, the dangers of immigration and the horror of overpopulation in New Zealand cities. 1975. Mixed Media. Private Collection. All Power to the People. Wellington: Te Papa Press, 2004. 228. Print.
Fepulea’i, Damon. “Dawn Raids.” NZ on Screen. 2005. Web. 16 Sep 2016.
Reid, Zoe. “How the Polynesian Panthers changed our world.” Salient. 31 May 2010. Web. 20 Sep 2016.