National | Bastion Point

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei remember Joe Hawke 45 years after police ended Bastion Point occupation

Twelve months on from the death of renowned Māori leader Joe Hawke, Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrākei has commemorated the 45th anniversary of the ending of the occupation of Bastion Point.

While it was a time to celebrate the past, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei has new challenges on the horizon.

Preparations for the day began yesterday when whānau and those who had participated in the occupation set up tents and unveiled a monument to mark the occasion, and hundreds gathered this morning to remember May 25, 45 years ago, when police and army personnel removed 222 people from Bastion Point, Auckland, ending an occupation that had begun in January 1977, the occupation lasting for 506 days.

It's also 12 months to the day since occupation leader Joe Hawke died last year.

Taiaha Hawke, his son, spoke about the legacy his father had left behind: "Ka heke tonu ngā roimata ki a Pāpā. Heoi anō, kei konei tonu āna akoranga hei tohutohu, hei arahina mai mātou i runga i te ara o te tika me te pono."

"We still cry for our father. But his teachings remain as a guiding principle along the path of truth."

Challenges ahead

But 2023 presents new challenges, with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei growing as a business entity. Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei has seen significant challenges to its position as ahikā in Auckland Central from other iwi.

Joe Pihema says while they acknowledge the past, the iwi will continue to recognise challenges it faces in the future.

He rangi nui whakaharahara tēnei mō mātou o Ngāti Whātua, e whakanui nei mātou i tēnā o ngā tūtanga whenua i konei

This is a hugely significant day for us as Ngāti Whātua, as we celebrate this very special place here.

"Whā tekau mā rima tau ki muri ko te Pākehā i hiahia, i tōminamina ki ō mātou whenua, engari, i ēnei tau tata nei, ko te Māori kē kei te hiahia ki ō mātou whenua"

Forty-five years ago it was Pākehā who were wanting our whenua, but, recently, it is Māori that has come to covet our whenua.