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Bastion Point 30th Commemorative Special


Bastion Point 30th Commemorative Special – On Maori Television

It remains a defining moment for race relations and land issues in this country. Now Maori Television looks back at this major landmark in the history of Maori protest, and the people involved, with: BASTION POINT 30TH COMMEMORATIVE TRIBUTE, Sunday May 25 at 9.00 PM.

Most people around at the time, and all students of our country’s race relations since, know the occupation at Takaparawha - Bastion Point - as one of the nation’s most famous and emotionally-charged protests.

In 1976, Muldoon’s Government announced that the last area of uncommitted land at Bastion Point would be developed for high-income housing. Ngati Whatua and their supporters responded by setting up an occupied protest on the site on January 4 1977. Their hope: that this ancestral land might be returned to tribal ownership – something hapu elders had been working towards prior to the announcement.

After 506 days, the protestors were evicted on 25 May 1978. Some 222 people were arrested by 700 police, army and navel personnel. In the end 33 charges of trespass were laid. After lengthy tribunal claims, court hearings and public meetings some of the land was eventually returned to Ngati Whatua.

Maori Television will broadcast a two-hour special tribute to this important period of 20th Century history as follows:

When the Government of the day announced plans to commit Bastion Point to development, tangata whenua set up an occupied protest on the land. This seminal documentary, by Merata Mita, captures the moments on Day 507 of that occupation – May 25, 1978 - when the army was sent in to remove the protesters. This documentary was banned for broadcast for some 10 years after it was made.

Thirty years on from events at Bastion Point, Julian Wilcox and the team mark this significant milestone in Maori history. Prominent New Zealanders and grassroots people involved in events look back, discuss and evaluate the importance of the occupation. In the studio: past occupiers, police personnel and Sir Paul Reeves. Sharon Hawke – the daughter of Bastion Point activist Joe – produces this flagship show for Maori Television.

In 1999, another team of documentary makers pick up the thread of the story where Merata Mita’s piece – Bastion Point Day 507 - left off. Director: Bruce Morrison, producers William Grieve and Sharon Hawke.

It will be 30 years this month since the eviction from Bastion Point. Ngati Whatua plan to commemorate the three decades with a concert at Orakei Marae, featuring Herbs and friends. Added to this, Auckland City Library will host a two-week display of archive material from the occupation, and Auckland University will hold related pod cast lectures on the week of the commemoration. Sir Paul Reeves will lead a memorial service at Orakei on 25 May 2008.

Tune into Maori Television for BASTION POINT 30TH COMMEMORATIVE TRIBUTE, Sunday May 25 at 9.00 PM.


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