Today marks the 30th anniversary of the re-occupation of Takaparawha. I remember being taken up to the occupation by my great aunt as a child, this has laid the foundation for my commitment to my peoples and their struggles. At the time the occupation certainly cemented the momentum and Maori drive for self determination, Takaparawha also showed the strength of solidarity with union placing green bans in support of the protest and support of many non Maori.It was a very visible reassertion of identity, pride & collective power. For a haapu that had been made virtually landless by the colonial imposition of Auckland, Takaparawha demonstrated the importance of fighting for the ahi kaa in our whenua and ourselves, and that is not meant to provide any comfort to some of the cousins that are enamored with crown & corporate & kupapa bullshit, who shame our history of struggle and led us further down the path of assimilation. To all the warriors that we have lost in the past 30 years, love & respect and to our warriors to come, time to stand up and continue the fight.
" On May 25 1978, 600 police officers, supported by the Army, stormed onto Bastion Point above Auckland’s exclusive Tamaki Drive, and began evicting the Maori owners living on their land. 220 people were arrested in a major turning point for the Maori movement for self determination.
‘Bastion Point’, Takaparawha, and much of Auckland was Ngati Whatua land at the time of English colonisation. Ngati Whatua chief, Apihai Te Kawau, came under immense pressure from the government last century to sell land as Auckland city expanded. Much Ngati Whatua land was sold to the Crown, but before his death Te Kawau secured the 280ha acres at Takaparawha enshrined in law in perpetuity for his people.
Despite this protective legislation however, successive governments seized increasing amounts of Takaparawha under various guises, such as defence purposes and public reserves. In 1951 the tribe was evicted from its tribal centre papakainga on the Okahu Bay foreshore and relocated into state houses in Orakei.
The dispute simmered in, courts, appeals to government and public appeals with little progress until Wellington builder, and Ngati Whatua son, Joe Hawke in 1977 led a small group back to Takaparawha to reoccuppy their land.
The occupiers erected make-shift housing for many of the tribe who began to come home, beginning a 506 day stay. The occupation was long and hard on its members. Nine year old Joann Hawke, niece of the occupation leader, died in a tragic fire in one of the huts.
But, following the Maori land march of 1975 which had highlighted the breadth of Maori concern about their oppression and the alienation of their lands, the Ngati Whatua stand at Takaparawha acted as a catalyst for action, and an example for others to voice their grievances.
And the forceful response of the government to a challenge from below, awoke many pakeha throughout Aotearoa to the realities of state violence and ruling class interests. When police forcibly removed the Ngati Whatua again from their lands, and bulldozed down their houses, the government lost the dispute. Although it took another ten years of legal challenges, the weight of public opinion had moved decisively. Bourgeois property rights were turned back in the faces of the settler ruling class, in 1988 the land was returned, and a precedent set for a wave of Maori land claims."
Television film of Bastion Point eviction
When the Crown announced that the last area of uncommitted land at Bastion Point was to be developed for high-income housing, some Ngāti Whātua occupied the site. They had hoped that this ancestral land might be returned to tribal ownership. After 506 days, the protestors were evicted on 25 May 1978. This television footage records the event. Army trucks are seen descending upon Bastion Point while flares are lit by its occupiers.