Acts of Imagination for Schools

Dawn Raids

by Oscar Kightley

1 AUG - 1 SEP 2022 — Year 11 – 13



Auckland Theatre Company


2 hours, including interval


Contains strong language, described violence

Legendary Pasifika theatre collective Pacific Underground revisits Dawn Raids 25 years on, in the wake of the apology.

Central Auckland. 1973. Fuarosa sleeps with one eye on the front door, in fear of it bursting open. Sione struggles to keep the peace by day and croons Elvis love songs by night. Teresa turns to activism to channel her rage but only her mate Bene hears her. Steve is a policeman, turning his own people out of their homes – even though it turns his stomach. Mose supports the raids and scorns overstayers.

Join Sione and his band, the Noble Hawai’ian Sabretooth Tigers, as they welcome you to the Paradise Honeypot Club where everything is beautiful, until it isn’t.

Dawn Raids is a fictional story set during a crucial period of New Zealand history, with links to the social studies & drama curriculum. The play represents discussions of the Dawn Raids and depicts the causes and consequences on a family.

This is a new production by Pacific Underground of a classic New Zealand work, written by Oscar Kightley. The text of Dawn Raids, including study notes on Pacific Underground is published.


A co-production between Auckland Theatre Company and Pacific Underground.

By arrangement with Playmarket



Approx. Duration: 2 hours, including interval
Advisory: Contains strong language, described violence
Suitability: Year levels 11 – 13

Curriculum Info

Themes and Ideas:          

  • Pasifika and New Zealand history
  • New Zealand race relations
  • Inter-generational conflict
  • The nature of protest and resistance
  • Polynesian Panthers & student activism

Social Studies & History Connections:   

  • Causes & consequences of the Dawn Raids
  • Cross-cultural issues

Drama Connections:         

  • Pasifika Theatre
  • New Zealand Theatre
  • Oscar Kightley – NCEA prescribed playwright

Briefing Document

Coming soon

Education Pack

Available from Thu 18 Aug

Complementary Texts


  • Dawn Raid by Pauline Vaeluaga Smith
  • The ‘Whakaako Kia Whakaora / Educate to Liberate' mural project
  • The Panthers, TVNZ

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