Bastion Point

Bastion Point seen from the fishing pier jutting out into the Waitemata Harbour.
A historical marae on Bastion point in the 1890s.
Bastion Point activist campaign at Nambassa alternatives festival 1981.
There is also a Bastion Point near Mallacoota, Victoria, Australia.

Bastion Point (Kohimarama or Takaparawhau in Māori) is a coastal piece of land in Orakei, Auckland, New Zealand, overlooking the Waitemata Harbour. The area has significance in New Zealand history for its role in 1970s Māori protests against forced land alienation by non Māori New Zealanders.[1]


The land was occupied by Ngāti Whātua, and before the colonisation of New Zealand it was part of important lands for the iwi (tribe), overlooking rich fishing and farming areas.

The surrounding land was bought or confiscated by the New Zealand Government for public works and development over a period stretching from the 1840s into the 1950s.


In 1885 the New Zealand Government built a military outpost at Kohimarama, or Bastion Point, because of its commanding strategic position overlooking the Waitemata Harbour. The outpost was not built on Takaparawhau Point, which had earlier been taken by the Government for the purpose.[2] In 1886 the Crown used the Public Works Act 1882 (46 Vict No 37) to take ownership of 13 acres (5.3 ha) of Bastion Point for this purpose of defence. When in 1941 the Crown no longer needed Bastion Point for defence, it did not return the land to its traditional Māori owners but instead gifted it to the Auckland City Council for a reserve. (This was the last 60 acres (24.3 ha) of uncommitted land at Orakei that the hapū Ngāti Whātua-o-Ōrākei still hoped to get back.)[3] In 1976 the Crown announced that it planned to develop Bastion Point by selling it to the highest bidder for high-income housing. Joe Hawke, members of his hapū, and other activists, formed the Orakei Māori Action Committee, taking direct action to stop the subdivision. In 1977-1978 the Orakei Māori Action Committee organised an occupation of the remaining Crown land, 2 days before construction of the housing was to start, to prevent its confiscation by the Muldoon Government.[2] The occupiers constructed a marae and housing, and grew crops. A fire in one of the buildings caused the death of a young girl.[4]

The occupation lasted for 507 days and finally ended on 25 May 1978,[1] when 800 police and personnel of the New Zealand Army forcibly removed the occupiers and destroyed the temporary buildings - including vegetable gardens and a meeting house. Two hundred and twenty two protesters were arrested. The occupation and the use of force to end it played a part in highlighting alleged injustices against Māori, and the occupation became a major landmark in the history of Māori protest.

In the 1980s New Zealand Government returned the land to Ngāti Whātua, with compensation, as part of a Treaty of Waitangi settlement process.

Filmmakers Merata Mita, Leon Narbey and Gerd Pohlmann made a documentary, Bastion Point Day 507 (1980), in support of the protest about the takeover of Māori land.

Savage Memorial

Grave and memorial near Bastion Point.

The point is the location of the Savage Memorial for the first Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand Michael Joseph Savage (23 March 1872 – 27 March 1940).

See also


External links

Coordinates: 36°50′39″S 174°49′27″E / 36.84417°S 174.82417°E / -36.84417; 174.82417

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