Bastion Point protesters evicted

25 May 1978

Protesters at Bastion Point (NZHerald/www.newspix.co.nz)

Police and army personnel removed 222 people from Bastion Point, above Auckland’s Waitematā Harbour, ending an occupation that had lasted 506 days. Local iwi (tribe) Ngāti Whātua were protesting against the loss of land in the Ōrākei block, which had once been declared ‘absolutely inalienable’.

Protesters occupied Bastion Point in January 1977 after the government announced a housing development on former Ngāti Whātua reserve land. The reserve had been gradually reduced in size by compulsory acquisition, leaving Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrākei holding less than 1 ha.

Following a Waitangi Tribunal inquiry in the mid-1980s, much of the land was later returned to or vested with Ngāti Whātua.

There were similar protests during 1978 at Raglan, where Māori land had been taken during the Second World War for an airfield that was never built. Instead of being returned to its former owners, some of this land had been turned into a golf course in 1969. The land was eventually returned to the Tainui Awhiro people.

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