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Bastion Point occupation commemorated

Bastion Point occupation commemorated

News release

Auckland - Thirty years ago, protesters faced off with 700 police, army, navy and the government over plans to develop Ngati Whatua ancestral land at Bastion Point. This month on May 25, 2008 the protagonists will again meet to mark the 30th anniversary of that day in 1978 when 222 people were arrested in a massive show of force that has been called a defining moment in New Zealand history.

Leader of the 1977 protest, Joe Hawke, has never regretted the decision to occupy the land to stop the government from building high-rise housing at Bastion Point. “I went onto the Point, not to invite an arrest, but to arrest a wrong, and 30 years on, all of Ngati Whatua are benefiting from that stand”, he said.

He will be part of the events being planned for May 25 to commemorate that struggle, foster reconciliation and re-affirm Ngati Whatua’s footprint on the land in Auckland, including a Remembrance and Reconciliation Ceremony being hosted at Orakei Marae, led by former Governor-General Sir Paul Reeves.

Bastion Point events organizer Alec Hawke says the ceremony at the Marae will be open to all interested parties and especially those who played a part in the Bastion Point story.

“We hope to bring together those that were arrested, representatives of the Police, the Army and Government members of all parties, as well as many prominent Maori, Pakeha, and Pacific Islanders who played a role in supporting the Bastion Point occupation. For Ngati Whatua o Orakei it will be a re-dedication of our ties to the land in Tamaki-Makarau, a positive message of our successes and our place in Auckland today”, he said.

Leading up to that day there will be a series of events around the city to mark the anniversary. The Auckland City Library is hosting a two-week display of archive materials such as posters, photographs and other material related to the Bastion Point occupation. Several prominent photographers who documented the occupation and eviction from Bastion Point are contributing their works from their private collections.
There will also be a series of podcast lectures through MANU AO network of Maori academics, hosted by the University of Auckland, beginning with a panel discussion on Thursday, May 22. On May 23, there will be an Indigenous roundtable discussion at the Marae to discuss and compare experiences on Indigenous participation in protected land management in Australia and New Zealand. Maori Television is playing a 2-hour tribute on May 25 from 9pm -11pm.


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