Polynesian Panthers records the Pacific rights and social activist movement in New Zealand, told by those who were there. Forming in 1971, the Polynesian Panther Party sought to raise consciousness and took action in response to the racism and discrimination Pacific peoples faced in New Zealand in the 1970s and 1980s.
The Panthers organised prison-visit programmes and sporting and debating teams for inmates; provided a halfway-house service for young men released from prison; ran homework centres; and offered ‘people’s loans’, legal aid and food banks that catered for up to 600 families. Drawing on interviews, memoirs, poetry, newspaper articles and critical analysis, Polynesian Panthers is a thought-provoking account of this period in New Zealand.
Misatauveve Dr Melani Anae joined the Polynesian Panthers in 1971. She is now Senior Lecturer in Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland, is a mother of three and grandmother, and still lives in Ponsonby.
Leilani Tamu is a New Zealand-born Samoan and was born and bred in Auckland. It wasn't until attending university that she came to fully understand and appreciate the huge impact that the Polynesian Panthers have had on forging the way forward for young Pacific Islanders. She is now a mother of two and the author of The Art of Excavation (Anahera Press, 2014).
Lautofa Iuli was one of the founding Polynesian Panthers. Currently a teacher, his ultimate goal is to make a contribution not just in teaching but in the study of accentuated educational processes.
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