Polynesian Panthers

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About Polynesian Panthers

The Polynesian Panther Party was an organisation founded by New Zealand born Polynesians on June 16, 1971. The party was explicitly influenced by the American Black Panther Party, particularly Huey Newton’s policy of black unity. They located the causes of Māori and Pacific Island oppression within the exploitative social relations of capitalism. Consequently, the Polynesian Panthers promoted a strategy of liberation based on the complete overthrow of the capitalist system and the social relations necessary for its development. The group greatly increased in profile during Robert Muldoon's immigration scare campaign in 1975, and the subsequent dawn raids under his administration. The Polynesian Panther Movement was founded in inner city Auckland by six young Pacific Islander men; Fred Schmidt, Nooroa Teavae, Paul Dapp, Vaughan Sanft, Eddie Williams and Will 'Ilolahia. At the time many Pacific Island youth were supporters of Māori political initiatives such as the Bastion Point occupation and Waitangi Day protests, and gained skills in political lobbying and processes which they used to raise the profile of Pacific people in New Zealand. Because of the working class background of

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