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.
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 given[by whom?] to the Government for the purpose. 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.) 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 to prevent its confiscation by the Muldoon Government. The occupiers constructed a marae and housing, and grew crops. A fire in one of the buildings caused the death of a young girl.
The occupation lasted for 507 days and finally ended on 25 May 1978, 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.
- Television footage of Bastion Point eviction, from Te Ara, the Encyclopedia of New Zealand
- Report on the Orakei claim, Waitangi Tribunal
- Radio NZ sound bite interviews on the 1970s Bastion Point protest.
- "Bastion Point - The Untold Story", clip from documentary