27 May 2018

Takaparawhā (Bastion Point) – 40 years on

From Te Ahi Kaa, 6:06 pm on 27 May 2018

On 25 May 1978, New Zealand police and army officers forcibly removed hundreds of protesters from Takaparawhā / Bastion Point.

It was the end of a 506 day-protest by Ngāti Whatua Ōrakei who sought to retain their land and prevent the government's plans to develop luxury housing there.

Te Ahi Kaa marks the 40th anniversary of the land occupation with the 1978 radio programme 'Takaparawhā - Bastion Point', hosted by pioneering Māori broadcaster Whai Ngata.

Bastion Point

Still from 'Bastion Point - Day 507' Photo: Merata Mita, Leon Narbey and Gerd Pohlmann

On an overcast morning on 25 May 1978, a convoy of army trucks and hundreds of police officers moved onto the land to evict the people onsite, which resulted in the arrest of 220 people.

The protestors were objecting to the government's plan for a housing development there.

Makeshift structures, including the former warehouse building-turned-whare Arohanui, were pulled down.

Journalist and broadcaster Whai Ngata

Journalist and broadcaster Whai Ngata Photo: Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou

Whai Ngata visited Bastion Point in 1978 to make an episode of the Māori radio series Te Puna Wai Kōrero.

He interviewed protest leader Joe Hawke about the plight of Ngāti Whatua Ōrakei and the historical narratives of their eviction from their ancestral lands at Okahu Bay. 

During the interview, Whai asks about the sacrifices Ngāti Whatua made. He responds that the protest was a collective effort.

Taiaha Hawke at Takaparawhau on the 40th commemorations since the land occupation.

Taiaha Hawke at Takaparawhau on the 40th commemorations since the land occupation. Photo: Meremaihi Aloua

The protest action taken by Ngāti Whatua Ōrakei resulted in the first retrospective Māori land claim before the Waitangi Tribunal.

In 1988, the government agreed with the Tribunal findings to return Bastion Pt to Ngāti Whatua Ōrakei along with a compensation package.

May 25th  2018 will mark 40 years since the protest ended at Takaparawhau.

Photo: Morrison, Robin. (1978) [Ngāti Whātua occupation of Bastion Point]. Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. PH-1992-5-RM-N10-1.

This week, Ngāti Whatua Ōrakei hosted a range of activities as part of the 40-year commemorations.

dawn service was held on Bastion Point, followed by commemorations attended by other iwi.

The Auckland War Museum, Auckland Public Library and Pearce Gallery hosted photographic exhibitions.

Ngā taonga Sound and Vision

Archival material Supplied by Nga Tāonga Sound and Vision

Related: 
Bastion Point: Dawn ceremony marks 40 years since evictions
Remembering Bastion Pt: 'Straight out of a Nazi war movie'

A dawn ceremony this morning marked 40 years since the protest ended at Takaparawhau.

A dawn ceremony this morning marked 40 years since the protest ended at Takaparawhau. Photo: RNZ / John Boynton