May 25 marks the 45th anniversary of the arrest of more than 200 people in Takaparawhau, Bastion Point. In 1977, Joe Hawke led a sit-in with the Ōrākei Māori Action Committee to protest the loss of Ngāti Whātua's land rights. The following excerpt is from a guest book prepared and edited by Sharon Hawke in 1998. (Read the first part here.)
Matt Maihi (Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei; stellvertretender Vorsitzender des Ōrākei Comité de Acción Māori)
My name is Matepuri Maihi, my father is Pateoro, my mother is Puti.
I remember the first day I entered Takaparawhau; I felt admiration, an incredible feeling. What we did gave me goosebumps because back then it was not okay for ordinary people to take control. At Maori Committee meetings, we discussed whether the government had any plans to invade and take control of the land we had left. They all agreed that we should take over the country in protest. After all, everyone wanted to be heard but not seen.
Setting up the tents on the first day caused us some problems. I had this big container and a big tarp that I bought when I was at a certain company. I couldn't get it right and instead of a square tent, it looked like a wigwam. For obvious reasons, I was careful to name it after the owner. Standing alongside four other stores was a proud moment for me. I wanted to do something for our Hapu and our Iwi.
The good thing was that the support came from many different groups and organizations. Joe Hawke and I told everyone who came out, "It doesn't matter what group you're from, we're just putting up a banner," and I'm glad we got through it and I'm proud of what happened.
At first, my job was to help set up the campsite. I also attended meetings in Auckland with Joe and others. We would explain to these people that we are not squatters, but that we defend what we consider our rights. Whenuatanga was the most important. We had a lot of support from different people. There were people like Jim Anderton, Bill Anderson and Cath Tizard. They brought their experience in dealing with the government.
Thanks to Joe who did all his homework. We managed to gather a lot of support that turned the tide for the government. The public heard the truth from us and mobilized our support. At the same time, we met our Whanau here and our Kaumatua was very supportive.
The government's strategy was to convince our Kaumatua to oppose us, and one by one they convinced some of them to their way of thinking, but that did not change our position. We discussed our position with Kaumatua and told them what position we would take, and finally received their full blessing. But there were some of our Whanau who held paid government posts. These people made our Kaumatua accept the government's offer, so the media wrote that we were not listening to our Kaumatua and there seemed to be a split.
At the end of the day, we received a blessing from our Kaumatua to continue what we thought was right.
One of the hardest things for me was when Connie and I had our baby, Bernadine, who had brain damage. It took her a long time to deal with Point because he didn't have to take care of her and Connie always took her to Bastion Point. He was too busy with Bastion Point stuff and there were times when Connie was under a lot of stress. It was also a sad moment for me. We've been through it. Little things like getting our baby out of the Point and doing things with him as a parent kept me going. When she died, it was very painful and hard for us, a sad moment. I have all the credit for what my wife Constance did. Nothing can replace the kind of motherly love that brought us together. It also made it difficult for Joannie to die in a fire at Bastion Point a week later. It was very sad and hard for all of us, may they both rest in peace.
The government put pressure on the people they dealt with to keep us off the subject. My father came to us and asked all of us to come back home.
I didn't want the eviction to hurt us. As for my father, I got away with it. I explained to my father that I thought he was wrong, but I withdrew out of respect for him. In hindsight, I felt like he might have done something wrong. Looking back, I wish I would have stayed there. I would not take action against my father.
We had the support of our people, but I really think the job would be much easier if we all went there and left all our houses empty.
My heart still went out to Joe, Aunt Didi (Piupiu Hawke) and Uncle Eddie (Hawke). My heart goes out to the entire family who did what he did. Mike Rameka and Roger Rameka were there, all the Hawke brothers who were young at the time. The youths were making heavy mahi while I was giving speeches at various workplaces. They were eager, young, energetic and delighted to be there. My condolences to all who participated and supported the cause.
Rene Hawke was the basis for a lot of things there. I don't know how he did it. But she stood by Joe and gave everything to everyone. You've been through hard timesthen, and yet she was with her. I'm proud of itsay you did a great job. What song is that? Stay with your man. He deserves this honor.
Humans supported each other Aroha. They supported the way the organization operated. They had faith and trust in each other. This came from Eddie Hawke. Eddie was like that. He was a very helpful guy. In difficult times, he was a guy who helped everyone. He would pick her up and encourage her to continue. It was a great experience for me - the way the people who were there supported and cared for each other.
At the time of the eviction, a trucker called me on RT to inform me about the loading of police vehicles and army trucks on the other side of the coast. He guessed that they were preparing to enter the Point. When I hung up the phone and got in my car, the eviction had already taken place.it's already happening and they don't want to let anyone through the door. It was sad to see that Nanny Hope and some of our elders were evicted from the country prior to her arrest. There were many people who supported us, who were strong and loyal, which was shown in the court cases.
If you think about it, when our Kaumatua told us to leave, the decision to stay in the country was the right one after all. We must stand together as a nation, kothitanga, as one nation. No one should ever put up with what happened then. Now we have everything back and that's okay, maybe it's not perfect, but despite all the pain and pain we went through back then, I hope we learned as humans.
There is a saying:
Two years ago,
two years apart
Food for two years.
Two years of wind and storm, two years of food shortage, two years of bad harvests, two years of food abundance. After a long wait, prosperity has finally arrived. Kia Ora.
A concert to commemorate the eviction of protesters from Bastion Point in Auckland 45 years ago will take place at the Spark Arena tuning fork on Thursday 25th May. The headliners are Ardijah, Annie Crummer and Herbs. tickets belowBridges. Para otras actividades commemorativas, véase Ngāti Whātua Orākeifacebook site.
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