Forty-five years after his parents were wrongfully imprisoned for overstaying, a Tongan New Zealander finally admits the painful truth behind what really happened to his family during the Dawn Raids.

Tongan-born Tesimoni Fuavao came to Aotearoa with his family in 1975 for medical treatment. On a day out with a friend, Tesimoni had an unexpected run-in with the police that led to the wrongful arrests of both of his parents. Now Tesimoni shares the story that saddled him and his family with decades of shame and regret and exposes the deep wounds his community suffered at the hands of New Zealand Police.


“It would have been better if they apologised to the two who were directly impacted. My parents.”
Tesimoni Fuavao


Director: Alice Lolohea

Alice Lolohea (Tongan) is currently working as a Journalist and Director for TVNZ1’s Tagata Pasifika programme. Covering a wide variety of issues, Alice directed the show’s half-hour special for the Polynesian Panthers 50th anniversary, and the 6-part Te Maeva Nui series Araura Enua: Road to Te Maeva Nui for the show’s online platform TP+. She recently completed a director’s attachment for the upcoming film Dame Valerie Adams: More Than Gold.

Producer: Sandra Kailahi

Sandra Kailahi (Tongan/Kiwi) is a co-producer on the feature film, One Winter starring Julian Dennison, Minnie Driver and Rhys Darby.  She co-created, co-wrote and produced the Tongan bilingual drama web series, Brutal Lives – Mo’ui Faingata’a and is in post-production on the second series. Sandra co-produced the documentary film, For My Father’s Kingdom which had its World Premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in 2019 and won Best Documentary at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. She produced the Loading Docs film, Meet Munch Jnr  and the short film, The Messiah.