Last week, Benji Timu and Josiah Tualamali'i handed their Dawn Raids petition to Parliament. It asked that the Government formally apologise for the infamous immigration policy, before it had announced an apology would go ahead.
Tualamali'i expressed his thanks to the Polynesian Panthers, the face of Dawn Raids activism.
"We were part of a letter campaign off the back of the Polynesian Panthers and other matua who have been calling for this for some time."
"But we are just the young, young. We were not there at the time and not there at the beginning of this, but I just wanted to mihi and thank [the Polynesian Panthers] for their deep-lasting advocacy and effort."
Timu outlined how in addition to an apology, the petition asks for a legacy fund so the raids can be taught in schools.
"I only found out a week ago that two of my family members went through this traumatic event of being raided during the dawn."
The petition was handed to Te Pāti Māori co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, followed by hugs, hongi and a few tears.
"Tuatahi ngā mihi kia koutou kua tae mai ki te waka mana tenei kaupapa, ngā mihi aroha kia kōrua a te kaiārahi mo te kaupapa."
"Ka huri au ki te mihi ki tatou tangata moana kua tae mai, ko koutou te mana o tō tātou whānau hoki."
"It's an absolute honour to be here in the shadow of our Polynesian Panthers, in the shadow of all of our whānau, our tangata moana whānau - who we stand in solidarity with," she said.
"The reality is as tangata whenua, we know how it feels to miss an important part of our history. It is what heals us intergenerationally. It's what helps lift the trauma."
Ngarewa-Packer announced that Parliament will hold a special debate about the Dawn Raids, which she said will enshrine exactly what happened.
Tualamali'i and Timu's petition also asked for a special debate in the House.
"As a kuia of four Samoan mokopuna, I'm extremely humbled to be here to tautoko you," Ngarewa-Packer said.
"I hope that we never, ever, ever return to the shame of our past."
With just a legacy fund left of the petition's demands to be fulfilled, Timu said he was happy with progress that had been years in the making.
He plans a stronger push on delivering Dawn Raids education for all schools in Aotearoa.
A formal government apology for the Dawn Raids was due to take place on the weekend, but was postponed due to Wellington's Covid-19 alert level change.