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Dawn Raid

(My New Zealand Story)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  370 ratings  ·  85 reviews
"Imagine this: You're having an amazing family holiday, one where everyone is there and all 18 of you are squeezed into one house. All of sudden it's 4 o'clock in the morning and there's banging and yelling and screaming. The Police are in the house pulling people out of bed ..."

Like many 13-year-old girls, Sofia's main worries are how she can earn enough pocket money to
Paperback, 166 pages
Published March 1st 2018 by Scholastic New Zealand Limited (first published 2018)
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Keilani 7 and up!
it doesn’t have anything crass, and it’s very educational! …more
7 and up!
it doesn’t have anything crass, and it’s very educational! (less)

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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  370 ratings  ·  85 reviews

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Claude's Bookzone
Apr 24, 2021 rated it liked it
Well this is a tricky review to write so I will keep it simple.

5 stars for the subject matter of which all New Zealanders should know about.
2 Stars for the lacklustre delivery with a character who is 13 but seems more like a very young child due to the way she has been written.

I'll give it 3.5 but I really wish this had more teeth to it as it was an outrageous policy where people were terrorised and left traumatised.
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-harder-2020
Well-executed middle grade fiction about an important, and shameful part of New Zealand History. I’m so glad that our publishers support stories like this for our young people.
Deimosa Webber-Bey
I fell in love with the cover, but it is what inside that brought me to happy tears. I would recommend this book for a tween who is finding their voice in the world, for a Social Studies teacher to pair with lessons about the Black Panthers and the American Indian Movement, and to anyone interested in contemporary novels about the diaspora of indigenous experiences throughout the world. This is also a great read-alike for The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, by Sonia Manzano, and If I Ever Get Out ...more
Aug 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Recently, the current Prime Minister of New Zealand admitted to the events that are discussed in this book - discrimination against Pacific Islanders, beginning under the leadership of Prime Minister Norman Kirk and continued under Prime Minister Rob Muldoon from the early 1970's through the early 1980's. The Islanders were blamed for the lose of jobs for the white majority of New Zealanders, and were under constant threat of being separated from their families by the authorities. In fact, the m ...more
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Wow I absolutely loved this book! Many people think racism isn't a huge issue in NZ but it's a topic that is swept under the rug, especially pacific islanders who endured racism on a daily basis in the 1970s. I hope the book gets the recognition it needs it's a 5/5 for me 😊 ...more
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Solid read about racism, stereotyping, media manipulation and an awful part in NZ history. Latest book in the My New Zealand Story books.
Estée Kyle
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Such a significant read about the injustices faced by Polynesian people in New Zealand book in the 70s. This book teaches the bias connotations the media forces upon us and how this can skew the public opinion. This book taught me that the 70s in New Zealand saw people fighting for equality, recognition and honesty which I did not know about this little country :)
Julia Smith
Fabulous story, ticked all my boxes.
An essential addition to every school library in New Zealand
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very quick read about an important part of NZ's history. This is set in 1976 and it is so 1976! I loved reading about the time - MacDonald's opens, milk runs, the price of items, movies, TV shows, music and the political situation of the time. As I was reading, I did wonder that a lot of the references would be totally lost of the kids in this generation. However there is a great section at the back that fills in the reader. Those who lived in the 70s will really enjoy the references - lots of ...more
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. I grew up in Porirua in the 70s and 80s, and this brought back many memories of the city in those times, and the political events of the time. Some of the language is more reflective of today than then - we would never have talked about Aotearoa/New Zealand; and as is said at the end, kids would never have challenged parents in the way shown.
I can see many many conversation starters here for kids today.
Cal Greaney
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
So much to like about this book - recommend it for all young New Zealanders.
And for a more... mature person...this is such a nostalgia filled booked; what it was like growing up in NZ in the 70s/80s with only two TV channels and before the internet!
Jun 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
I've never liked children's books. They tend to reproduce a white middle-class ideology, blind to systemic injustices, and focused, instead, on propping up liberal values as universally experienced and/or desired. Judeo-Christian values, quaint British fluff or Randian hellscapes.

This book is different. It's a complex, intersectional work that, nonetheless, retains the playful and sincere approach of children's fiction.

Set in late 70's Aotearoa, it depicts a working class Samoan/Palagi family na
Apr 14, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Good topic to write a book about and for kids too. But this book doesn’t keep a focus on its story and includes stupid onomatopoeia words such as Wooowe! And dumb phrases. It takes place in the the 1970s so it drops songs and toys with no apparent reason and has a child narrator that talks about anything but the main topic. This is a writing style that it is common in kids books and brings down the measurement for lexile and Fry readability scores. That just lowers the complexity of the words ma ...more
Ms. Yingling
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Sophia lives in New Zealand in 1976 with her family that includes her father, an autoworker born in Samoa, her mother, a night cleaner who is Pākehā (a white or non-Māori New Zealander), an older brother and sister, and two accident prone younger brothers. Her dearest desire is to own a pair of Go Go boots, and she has been given a diary for her 13th birthday in which she chronicles her life. Events range from the exciting (a McDonald's opening in her town of Pori
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic to have a book for young people written about this barely known (to them anyway) shameful part of Aotearoa's history. My sons (12 and 9) were engrossed and one night when I tired of reading aloud the 9 year old carried on reading it outloud to his older brother. They were shocked in parts at the unenlightened attitudes of 1970's NZ. Which sadly still exist in some parts of NZ today...This book should be in all NZ school libraries! ...more
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Room 26 loved listening to this book set in the 70s. We had lots of discussion about what life was like for kids at that time, and we had lots of questions about the Polynesian Panthers and why they were needed in New Zealand. We could all relate to Sofia having to present her speech, and her ongoing drama with her brothers. I would recommend this book to kids aged 10+, for anyone who is interested in history in New Zealand and wants to learn a bit more about life for kids in the 1970s.
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a brilliant piece of NZ literature. Even cooler considering the author is a local. I learnt more from this book than I did from 13 years of mainstream pakeha centric education in Aotearoa. These are important stories that need told and shared! Wonderful read, informative, educational and entertaining! Faafetai Pauline!
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
A valuable addition to the wonderful My NZ Story collection. This was a very dark period in NZ history and good to read about it from a teen point of view. I'd forgotten about chop suey, so it was fun going back in time!

Highly recommended to teen readers.
Feb 02, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: new-zealand
An easy to read primer on the topic of the dawn raids of Pacific Islander (and Maori) people in New Zealand in the 70's under Prime Minister Muldoon. Perfect for young teens or anyone who wants a quick, easy history lesson! ...more
Duy Pham
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: good-books
This book is so good that I even tell my mom to buy it for me!!! I hope that one day soon my mom will buy me the Grace book that Miss Smith is reading to us(Room 26)!!!
Zech Soakai
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An awesome book that uncovers NZ’s a small part of NZ’s long tail of racism and discrimation through the lens of an adolescent. Can’t wait to teach this to my students
Dawn Raid by Pauline Vaeluaga Smith is a wonderful middle grade book about a 13-year old girl in New Zealand in the 1970s whose world is gradually opened to the world of social activism. Dawn Raid is told in journal entries by Sofia, a young girl, who has mixed ethnicity parentage. She is a typical, insulated middle class kid until she begins to learn more about Dawn Raids and the work of the Polynesian Panthers.

Dawn Raids were immigration raids performed in the very early morning by the New Ze
Laura Beam
Apr 11, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is such a great middle grade book! It was first published in New Zealand and I was trying to get my hands on a copy of it here in the states but was having no luck. To my surprise, during one of my searches to see if I could get it here, I saw that it was being published in the states. When it arrived, I devoured it in two days and it got me out of a reading slump.

The author and the main character of the story are both biracial Samoan/White New Zealanders. The book is historical fiction se
Christi Flaker
Apr 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
5 stars for middle grade fiction that sheds light on bigger issues. I enjoyed the diary style of the book as you feel like you are in her head experiencing her life and emotions.
May 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
Well done novel about 1970s protests in New Zealand. Smith uses a diary format to great effect as Sofia comes to understand hard issues, interspersed with real scenes of family life.
Francesca Pashby
Jul 04, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nz, childrens
Well, I learnt some stuff, which I guess is the point of this series.
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: junior-fiction
In this latest addition to the My New Zealand Story series from Scholastic, young readers are confronted by the sometimes brutal actions of the police in what became known as the Dawn Raids which targeted Pacific Island overstayers. While author Pauline (Vaeluaga) Smith has created fiction based on fact, she has also included some people in the story from amongst those she interviewed during her research, adding an authentic touch. Likewise the diary format and the school speeches are techniques ...more
What a fantastic book -- from the depictions of a large, loving half-Samoan half Pakeha family, to the authentic voice of a 13 year old girl growing up in the mid-1970s. I found it absolutely enthralling. A great introduction to Civil Rights, especially Pasifika Civil Rights and the Polynesian Panthers. American kids might find this story a bit confusing because it is so compellingly set in its place (New Zealand) and time -- between everyday slang terms and the far more common use of Maori and ...more
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-read
I consider myself a well-educated NZ teen, and I thought I vaguely knew most of the 'important' events in the last few decades. Yet this book covers an event I never knew about. So I'm very glad I read it, and it cements my approval of David Lange and hatred of Muldoon - I mean I knew he was bad, but that ad! Ugh.

It's very interesting to cover the Polynesian Panthers in detail and remind us that not all gangs are bikie gangs.

Anyhow this is a great addition to the My New Zealand Story books and
A wonderfully telling diary by a capable, confident 13 year old female with a loving family, growing up in 1976 in a gloriously sunny Porirua.

Yes, it's a children's book but I'm highly recommending for the 1970s pop culture references and for the clear-eyed view of the social and political climate of the time. If every NZer over 40 read it then I think we'd all clear up a lot of misunderstandings pretty quickly.
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Pauline (Vaeluaga) Smith is an author and educationalist. Born in the small rural town of Mataura, Pauline is of Samoan, Tuvaluan, Scottish and Irish descent. Smith's first book My New Zealand Story: Dawn Raid, was a finalist at the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young People in the Esther Glen, Junior Fiction and Best First Book categories. It was the winner of the Best First Book for 2 ...more

Other books in the series

My New Zealand Story (1 - 10 of 31 books)
  • Bastion Point 507 Days on Takaparawha, Auckland, 1977-78 (My New Zealand Story)
  • Earthquake: The Diary Of Katie Bourke, Napier, 1930 31 (My Story S.)
  • Cyclone Bola: Gisborne, 1988 (My New Zealand Story)
  • Lighthouse Family (My New Zealand Story)
  • Harbour Bridge (My New Zealand Story)
  • Pandemic: Spanish Flu, 1918 (My New Zealand Story)
  • Here Come the Marines, Warkworth, 1943 (My New Zealand Story)
  • Gold! Otago, 1862 (My New Zealand Story)
  • Abandon Ship! : the Diary of Debbie Atherton, Wellington, 1968
  • Canterbury Quake (My New Zealand Story)

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