Red Alert

Remember Bastion Point

Posted by on November 15th, 2012

The Ngati Whatua Orakei Settlement Bill passed its third reading today. As an Aucklander the occupation of Bastion Point, and Ngati Whatua’s 170 year struggle for justice has always meant a great deal to me. I felt really privileged to be able to contribute to the debate on behalf of Labour.

Ngati Whatua’s loss of land, and their extraordinary struggle to hold on to some of it, and then get some back, is a story every Aucklander should know. The 1987 Waitangi Tribunal report sets it all out, including how city authorities in 1911 built an 8 foot high pipe across the foreshore to discharge the city’s raw sewerge onto Ngati Whatua’s shellfish beds.

And the compulsory acquistion and forced clearance in 1951 of the village at Okahu Bay. Today’s kaumatua remember watching their houses being burned to the ground.

The turning point for Ngati Whatua, and arguably for race relations more broadly, was the 507 day occupation of Bastion Point led by Joe Hawke 1977-78 to stop the National Government of the day selling off the land for high income housing.

The eventual eviction of the protesters by police and army shocked the nation, including me.

To see the settlement finalised today, in light of that history, is quite something. Something that all New Zealanders can take pride in.

Hone Harawira’s speech in the debate was one to remember. He recalls the occupation of Bastion Point with great humour.

 


13 Responses to “Remember Bastion Point”

  1. peter says:

    Rob Muldoon’s finest hour.. Dreadful man

  2. Jack Ramaka says:

    The torching of houses at Orakei and Ngati Whatua’s land losses reminds me of the Highland Clearances in Scotland, i guess that is why there are so many similarities in the Maori & Scottish Histories.

  3. Jenny says:

    Before the burning down of their village at Okahu. In an act of deliberate genocide the city of Auckland placed a massive sewerage outfall for the whole city at Okahu bay.

    It was well known that the Ngati Whatua got a lot of their sustenance from seafood gathered from the bay.

    The main pipe cut off Ngati Whatua’s access to the beach. In appearance this pipe looked like a huge concrete wall leaking shit. A more obscene, but not as tall version of the wall built by Israel.

    Despite having this monstrous obscenity built across their land, Ngati Whatua themselves weren’t allowed to connect their own toilets to the system. As a result of this and the fetid water that pooled against the pipe. The village at Okahu was declared a health hazard which was the excuse used to alienate the tiny little last piece of Ngati Whatua ancestral land in Auckland.

    (After the Ngati Whatua was evicted, a beautification effort was commenced by the city to cover up the unholy and unsanitary eyesore of their own creation. A road was built to cover pipeline and the site of the village was converted into a council park).

    I once heard a speech delivered by Grant Hawk who recounted that once as a young boy he had broken his leg and had to go to Auckland hospital. As he told it, though the injury was to his leg, he was admitted into into the typhoid ward. He was told this was standard practice for all Maori patients admitted into Auckland hospital from Orakei.

    Thankfully Ngati Whatua survived this deliberate act of genocide. To go on to peacefully protest the selling off a small portion of the their stolen land to private developers, only to have the police and the army set on to them.

    However this time the state over reached itself.The brutality and racism of the colonial state and the dignity and courage of Ngati Whatua before this onslaught humbled the government.

    Their courageous stand started a nation wide demand for Maori rights. Before Bastion Point, the Waitangi Tribunal had no legislative teeth. To address the particular injustice of Bastion Point the Maori Land court was for the first time given the power to provide legal redress and the Bastion Point Settlement became the first ever Waitangi Tribunal settled enforcement of Maori grievance against the state.

  4. Jenny says:

    All those of us who admire courage and value justice and all the people’s who share the isthmus named after Lord Auckland, owe a debt of gratitude to Ngati Whatua O Orakei. Their enduring continuing presence despite all hardship, has enhanced the Mana of the beautiful city they call Akarana.

    Ngati Whatua transformed and beautifully softened the ugly Anglo Saxon name of an inconsequential unheralded idle and ignoble English colonial aristocrat that currently graces our greatest city.

  5. Jack Ramaka says:

    We as New Zealanders need to embrace the Maori Culture at the end of the day they did get the rough end of the pineapple.

    They signed the Treaty of Waitangi in good faith and encourages European Settlement of NZ the problem is the Crown and the Settlor did not live up to their obligations in the Treaty Agreement.

    Maori did not sell land for beads & blankets that is white mans mythology, the fact is their was illegal land appropriation and most archives have been deliberately destroyed.

    Maori have been extremely tolerant of the injustices they endured and have managed to keep their culture alive which is extremely important for New Zealand and the Maori Race.

  6. The Al1en says:

    “We as New Zealanders need to embrace the Maori Culture”

    I don’t need to do anything of the sort.

    “and have managed to keep their culture alive”

    My kiwi born Cockney sparrow knows all about her roots, her traditions, her language and her people… And all without a cent of taxpayers money, nor any sign of post colonial guilt.

  7. Jack Ramaka says:

    Al1en your choice brother.

  8. Jenny says:

    … and his loss.

  9. The Al1en says:

    “need to” is the issue I have.
    I’m genetically inclined not to do anything on command, and especially just because someone on the internet said so.

    “… and his loss.”

    Define loss, please.

  10. Jenny says:

    I’m genetically inclined not to do anything on command, and especially just because someone on the internet said so.

    The Al1en

    Kia ora Al1en. If I as “someone on the internet” said to you “keep breathing” would your superior genetics still incline you to stop?

    Of course not, because it is good for you.

    Maybe if you learnt something of the history and culture of the indigenous people of this land, likewise you might discover, it is good for you.

    And as for my definition of loss; Ignorance and intolerance and cruelty and injustice and theft and attempted genocide as was practiced on the Ngati Whatua is a loss, for all of us.

    Just as their eventual triumph is a celebration of the human spirit that every human being can take joy from.

  11. The Al1en says:

    “would your superior genetics still incline you to stop?”

    Where did “superior genetics’ come from? Not me.
    Put words in mouth, if you like, but for the record, I’d never say anything so crass and stupid as that.

    “… and his loss.”

    “And as for my definition of loss; Ignorance and intolerance and cruelty and injustice and theft and attempted genocide as was practiced on the Ngati Whatua is a loss, for all of us.”

    I meant define my loss.

  12. Adele says:

    Al1en

    “My kiwi born Cockney sparrow knows all about her roots, her traditions, her language and her people… And all without a cent of taxpayers money, nor any sign of post colonial guilt.”

    My foreign born cat enjoys kiwi born cockney sparrows as a tasty morsel. And as far as I am aware he suffers absolutely no guilt in the eating thereof. Good cat.

    Who cares whether you suffer from post colonial guilt or not. Māori certainly don’t.

  13. The Al1en says:

    Are you objecting to me raising my child according to our culture and traditiions?
    Or are you cross I won’t be told to embrace another on command?
    Not that it really matters.

    I accept, tolerate, accommodate and co-exist quite happily. Just like most do, in the multi cultural universe that is 2012 NZ.
    Even Adele’s cat. ;)