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Exhibition commemorates Bastion Point resolution

Auckland City Council
Media release

19 May 2008

Exhibition commemorates resolution of Bastion Point conflict

Remembrance is the theme of Bastion Point – 30 Years On, an exhibition at the Central City Library from 19 to 30 May.

Developed in partnership by Ngāti Whātua o Orākei and Auckland City Libraries, it is one of a series of events to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the eviction of Bastion Point, where Orākei marae now stands.

On 25 May 1978, more than 700 police, army and navy personnel were ordered to break up the protest and remove the makeshift settlement, resulting in more than 200 arrests.

Chairperson of the Community Service Committee, Councillor Paul Goldsmith, says the events at Bastion Point are an important part of Auckland’s history.

“I am sure that the exhibition will remind us of the passions held by those involved, and help our understanding of the broader issue of Maori land holding in the city,” says Mr Goldsmith.

The exhibition features news coverage, photographs and protest posters of the time. Much of the material showcased is the work of people who documented the occupation, eviction and re-occupation over several years.

Several went on to become household names, including cinematographer Mairi Gunn, photographer and writer Gil Hanly, and the late photographer Robin Morrison

Around 350 photographs - including many by Margaret Jones and John Miller that have not previously been exhibited - will also be displayed.

Two leading documentaries will screen continuously at the library as part of the exhibition. Bastion Point Day 507 by Merata Mita captures the 507th day of the occupation when the police and army were sent in to remove the protestors. In Bastion Point – The Untold Story, a team of documentary makers pick up the story from 1978, where Mita left off.

A key exhibit is a 1977 architect’s impression of the high-rise development that was proposed to be built on the site. It was this proposal that brought land ownership issues to a head and ignited several years of bitter protest.

The exhibition brings together material from Auckland City Libraries’ own heritage collections, as well as from the Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland City Council Archives, University of Auckland Library, Auckland War Memorial Museum, New Zealand Herald, and a wide range of private collections.

Libraries’ Maori Services manager Whina Te Whiu says it has been a real honour to work with Ngāti Whātua o Orākei leaders and elders.

“Through this relationship, we have been fortunate to acquire an extensive collection of photographic memories of that time. This is a library first to have worked so closely with Auckland’s tangata whenua – where they have advised us, helped choose the photographs, marketing and media. Ngāti Whātua will also lead the welcoming and blessing of this exhibition,” she says.

The exhibition can be visited on the heritage floor (level 2, Central City Library, 44 – 46 Lorne Street) until 30 May during opening hours: 9am – 8pm weekdays, 10am – 4pm weekends. Entry is free.

Other commemorative activities include a ceremony of remembrance and reconciliation, which will be observed at Orākei Marae at 10am on Sunday 25 May, with Sir Paul Reeves officiating.


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