Today marks 50 years to the day that six Pacific Islanders grouped together in central Auckland to form the Polynesian Panther Party.
The party was founded on 16 June 1971 by members Will ‘Ilolahia, Fred Schmidt, Nooroa Teavae, Paul Dapp, Eddie Williams and Vaughan Sanft. They were later joined by Tigilau Ness, Lupematasila Misatauveve Melani Anae and Alec Toleafoa.
They took inspiration from the United States civil rights movement Black Panthers during a period of police brutality against the African American population.
- LISTEN TO RNZ: Untold Pacific History: Waking Up to the Dawn Raids here, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and iHeart Radio
- Other Dawn Raids and Polynesian Panther articles
Similar scenes of racial unrest occurred in Aotearoa, and long before the infamous Dawn Raids too. In the early 1870s, an Evening Post article said: “Bad as the Chinese are, the South Sea savages are worse, and any extensive importation of them would have a most pernicious effect.”