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Speech: Harawira - Ngati Whatua Ki Orakei Settlement

Press Release
Ngati Whatua Ki Orakei Settlement: Third Reading Speech
Hone Harawira
MANA Leader and Member of Parliament for Te Tai Tokerau
Thursday 15 November 2012

E te Mema Paremata o Takaparawha, ki a koe e Joe, tena koe, koe anoki e Grant, hakoa kei hea koe e noho ana, tena hoki ra, koutou ano e oku whanaunga i haere tawhiti mai i Orakei, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.

Today is a very special day for Ngati Whatua ki Orakei, today is your day, and while I am happy to speak off the cuff whenever I am out in public, today I refer to my notes because I want to enter into the parliamentary record just a few of the many special memories I will always have of Bastion Point.

And Joe said I had to start with the Orakei Maori Action Committee – JOE, GRANT, ROGER, MIKE, COLIN – who ran the biggest ever Maori land occupation in recent history and had the truly unenviable task of trying to hold together the wildly divergent and often demented ravings of Albanian-aligned Communists and Trotskyist Socialists, and Stalinist hardliners and Mao Tse Tung fanatics, and Christians and atheists, and vegans and vegetarians, and guys straight out of jail and kids straight out of school, and housewives and farmers, and Maoris who’d never done anything like this before and Pakehas who’d never worked with Maoris before, and our brothers and sisters of the Pacific, and Aboriginals and Native Americans, and musicians and lawyers, and singers and actors, and labourers and doctors – such was the ever-changing family of Bastion Point,
And behind the scenes PATU and RENE and RACHEL who made sure the Action Committee did what they told them to do,
Old man EDDIE HAWKE who quietly made sure all the real work got done while the chiefs were pontificating and the young bloods were preening,
AUNTY PIUPIU, AUNTY HOPE and all the kuia who kept us safe,
SHARON, KATARAINA, MEI-MERI, BETTY SIO & LINDA TANOA’I, the girls from AGGS who’d come straight to the Point in their school uniforms,
JOANNIE and a life ended all too soon,
JOHN DENVER coming up to jam with the locals and all the other bands who gave us joy,
Getting blasted every night by WILLIE WILSON, the little man with the big voice (I was gonna say big mouth but he’d probably hear about it and come bash me) Willie Wilson - a hard-line communist back in the day who’s now a preacher for the lord,
And while I’m talkin’ about preachers, TOM HERANGI the pistol packin’ preacher from Tainui,
And MATT TARAWA, the singing Mormon who liked to belt out My Way, but his way, and was always draggin’ his poor kids up on stage to sing and help raise money for the occupation,
One of the women coming out of the toilets one night and shining a spotlight on the cops who were trying to crawl into the camp and screaming at them to “F OFF” and everyone watching these silly policemen scatter down the hill like rabbits, tripping over themselves in the dark, and being hounded by raucous laughter from all the men, and dire predictions from all the women,
That image of AMA RAUHIHI up on the watchtower with Rangitoto in the background,
AUSSIE BOB and his pushbike generator,
DAVID WILLIAMS and his incredibly boring legal dissertations,
DIANE PRINCE, winner of the Bastion Point porridge competition,
DILWORTH, SAM, REX and the rest of the RAT PATROL for their hilarious night time antics, guarding the Point and teasing the cops,
TAME ITI, TITEWHAI HARAWIRA, SYD JACKSON, BETTY WILLIAMS, DUNN MIHAKA, EVA RICKARD – teachers you couldn’t help but learn from … and teachers you didn’t dare disagree with,
And TIM SHADBOLT … what a guy – the man with a million dollar smile and a million different stories, gallantly defending his niece one dark night, and being handed a blade and challenged to fight for his life and her honour, TIM will be forever grateful to ZENA TAMANUI for stepping in and slapping down her blood-thirsty relations from the north,
And KINGI TANGIRA from Karetu, a true bender of reality with so many stories about his life, that if you added them all together, he would have had to have been 127 years old,
And ZENA and the rest of WHAKAHOU of course, the effervescent, witty and intelligent young Polynesians from Otara, quick with a smile and quicker with a song,
JIMMY O’DEA, the stubborn Irishman from Kupe St with an accent and a commitment to justice that have refused to bend over the years,
SONNY WARU and his ‘tempestuous winds of circumstance’
MERATA MITA and her “Day 507” doco,
DOC (never knew what his real name was) and his little mutt Bastion,
ROGER FOWLER up on the roof of the whare telling everyone to stay calm and Bastion running around behind him yappin’ his head off,
Marching into town for our court cases with ALEC and having to tell everyone to “get off the footpath, we march on the road!”
Listening to BEN DALTON blister the courtroom with a heavy, heavy korero in Maori, and laughing at the judge demanding a translation, from a shocked and shaking and red-faced translator, who simply could not bring herself to give the true translation and simply stammered “I … I think he’s pleading not guilty your honour”
HONE KAA for driving his congregation crazy when he used to let us come and stay at Tatai Hono while the court cases were on,
Jamming up the courthouse with hundreds of defendants, and hundreds more supporters, and driving the courts mad with our chanting, and our singing, and our hakaz, and forcing them to throw most of the charges out,
And standing on the picket outside Mt Eden jail to see our brother have to come out because his snoring was driving the whole remand wing mental.

Ngati Whatua ki Orakei, koutou kua tae mai i tēnei ra – you have done so much in such a very short time for so many, and today you carry the hopes and dreams not only for your mokopuna, but for the tens of thousands of urban Maori, who look to you for a lead in how to act in Tamaki Makaurau.

On behalf of those who were privileged to be there in support of your stand, on behalf of a generation who were seeking a place in a crazy world, on behalf of the 222 who got arrested on May 25th 1978, and those like Hilda and Sharon who got arrested again and again in support of the kaupapa - I say thank you.

It was through your actions in occupying Bastion Point, the stand you took in reclaiming that place we later came to know as Takaparawha and then Takaparawhau, the commitment you made to win back your land, and the heavy, heavy losses that you sustained and that nobody else will ever feel as deeply as those of you who call Orakei home – it is from all of that that we drew strength, and energy, and knowledge, and courage, to carry the fight for land rights, to other places in Aotearoa, and to other lands throughout the world.

BASTION POINT was a haven in the heart of Polynesia’s largest city and our classroom in Maori Politics 101;

And who can forget Shadbolt and his wonderful poem …

“Hey You!
You who spend 5 minutes voting every 3 years and call it democracy,
Have you got 5 minutes to spare, to hear the story of our home …
It’s called AROHANUI”

Dismantled out at Wiri, trucked to the Point by staunch unionists, and rebuilt as a whare of real warmth and shelter, with all her humble little dwellings around her, a marae that lived and breathed 24 hours a day and sometimes more, AROHANUI saw the birth of some, sheltered the pain and joy of many, and provided a final resting place for Joanne.

AND YOU - e te whanau o Ngati Whatua ki Orakei - you gave us a chance to learn and to teach, to challenge and to be challenged, to cop flak and to come back for more, to sing together and to cry together, and today you have come to this house to reclaim a very, very small part of your history.

Ngati Whatua ki Orakei – today, in honour of those who have passed on, and those of you who are left to carry on the struggle, today we thank you, today we honour you, and today we wish you strength for the many years to come.

We are the people of the land,
Through troubled times we will stand,
The sun will shine through cloudy skies
And brighten our pathway as we unite for our land

ENDS

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