Bastion Point (Takaparawhau in MÄori) 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 MÄori protests against forced land alienation by non MÄori New Zealanders.
The land was occupied by NgÄti WhÄtua, in the period before the colonisation of New Zealand by the British Crown, and was part of important lands for the iwi (tribe), overlooking rich fishing and farming areas.
In 1885, the NZ Government built a military outpost at Kohimarama, or Bastion Point, because it commanded good strategic positioning over Waitemata Harbour. It was not built on Takaparawhau Point, which had earlier been given to the Government for that purpose. In 1886, the Crown used the Public Works Act 1882 to take ownership of 13 acres (53,000 m2) of Bastion Point for this purpose of defence. When, in 1941, the Crown no longer needed Bastion Point for defence, the ancestral MÄori land was not returned to its traditional MÄori owners but instead gifted to the Auckland City Council for a reserve. (This was the last 60 acres (240,000 m2) of uncommitted land at Orakei that the hapu still hoped to get back.) In 1976, the Crown announced that it planned to develop Bastion Point by selling it to the highest corporate bidder for high-income housing. Joe Hawke, members of his hapu, and other activists, formed the Orakei MÄori Action Committee taking direct action to stop the subdivision. In 1977-1978 the Orakei MÄori Action Committee organised an illegal occupation of the remaining land Crown land to prevent its confiscation by the Muldoon Government. A marae and housing was built, and crops were grown. A fire in one of the buildings caused the death of a young girl.
A peaceful occupation lasted for 507 days and was finally ended on the 25th May 1978, when 800 police and the New Zealand army were used to forcibly remove the occupiers and destroy the temporary buildings including vegetable gardens and a meeting house, which were constructed to accommodate the living during the protest. Two hundred and twenty two protesters were arrested. The occupation and use of force to end it played a part in highlighting injustices against MÄori, and the occupation was a major landmark in the history of MÄori protest.
In the 1980s New Zealand Government formally apologised and returned the land to NgÄti WhÄtua with compensation, as part of the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process.
A documentary supporting the protest by filmmaker Merata Mita was made about the takeover of MÄori land. It is titled "Bastion Point Day 507" and it uses various video footage of the forceful land takeover.