Bastion Point

Flaky Ngati Whatua report fisked

Sometimes, light-weight bleeding-heart commentary needs to be taken to task. Today, Brian Rudman of the New Zealand Herald is in the gun for his article “Joe Hawke gains victory”. A “fisking”, according to the Urban Dictionary, is where a commentator is beaten through his words, often interspersing criticisms with the original article's text. The term is named after Robert Fisk, a reporter known for anti-western writings.

Rudman: Yesterday in Parliament, the long struggle for justice, reignited by Joe Hawke and his fellow squatters in the 1970s, finally came to an end with an apology from the Crown, and ritual compensation by way of cash and land.

As I recall, the dispute around the 507-day occupation of Bastion Point, 5.3 ha of land that was taken under the Public Works Act in 1886 for military use, was settled in 1988, when the land was returned with compensation and an apology. Another dispute detailed in the Wai 9 claim lodged in 1986 by Joe Hawke and others that focussed on grievances around the 700 acres known as the Orakei Block, was enshrined in the Orakei Act 1991 in which nearly 65 hectares were returned to Ngati Whatua o Orakei . The current settlement is Ngati Whatua’s third bite of the cherry......

Continue reading Mike Butler's eye-opening blog HERE


1. Ngati Whatua occupied the Auckland area (53,100 hectares city area or 108,600ha greater Auckland) from around 1750 before being driven out by a Nga Puhi war expedition led by Hongi, Rewa and Patuone in November 1822.

2. The Tamaki isthmus was largely unoccupied from 1822 to 1840 because the desirability of the land made it too dangerous for tribes to live there.

3. Ngati Whatua chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi on March 20, 1840, after which a delegation of chiefs invited Captain William Hobson, the new Governor, to settle in the Tamaki isthmus.

4. In September 1840, Ngati Whatua Orakei sold around 3500 acres (1416ha) of land, which today covers the central city of Auckland for £50 in coin and goods amounting to approximately £215.

5. Over the next two years the tribe sold a further 29,000 acres (11,736ha) to the Crown for around £640 plus other goods.

6. By the end of 1842 Government agents had purchased from chiefs land totalling 92,000ha (227,200 acres) the price being £4,196.25.

7. Between 1844 and 1845 the Crown allowed direct dealing in land between Maori and settlers. In total around 47,000 acres of land in which Ngati Whatua Orakei had interests were alienated.

8. From 1846 the Crown carried out further purchases, including around West Auckland.

9. By 1855 Ngati Whatua Orakei held only 700 acres (283ha) of land on the Tamaki isthmus at Orakei.

10. Ngati Whatua Orakei hosted the month-long Kohimarama Conference in July of 1860, at the time of the first Taranaki war. Most of the 200 chiefs attending the conference gave emphatic support to the colonial government and the Treaty of Waitangi. It would appear that Ngati Whatua were happy with the situation at that time, which was after the bulk of the land had been sold.

11. Ngati Whatua Orakei subsequently sold the 700 acres (283ha) of Orakei land.

12. In 1886, 5.3 ha of land at Bastion Point was taken under the Public Works Act for military use and £1500 was paid in compensation (£1500 = approx $282,000  in todays money.  The median price per hectare of NZ farmland in April 2015 was $28,668. - This means govt compensation 1886 was approximately double the per hectare value of Bastion Point land.  Ngati Whatua was more than adequately compensated for Bastion Point in 1886.) 

13. In 1941, when the Crown decided it no longer needed Bastion Point land for defence, it gave the land to Auckland City for a reserve.

14. In 1952, the remaining village and marae were burned to the ground after the residents were evicted and re-housed in rental state houses so that their old waterfront village could become a public park.

15. In 1976, the Crown announced that it was about to develop the remaining land at Bastion Point for high-income housing and parks, sparking the Bastion Point occupation.

16. A dispute around the 507-day occupation of Bastion Point, over the 5.3 ha of land taken under the Public Works Act in 1886, was settled in 1988, when the land was returned with compensation and an apology.

17. The Wai 9 claim was lodged in 1986 by Joe Hawke and others. This claim focussed on grievances around the 700 acres (283ha) known as the Orakei Block. A settlement between the Crown and Orakei meant nearly 65 hectares were returned to Ngati Whatua Orakei under the Orakei Act 1991.

18. Ngati Whatua Orakei’s Wai 388 claim, lodged in 1993, covered the sale of 32,000 hectares in the Tamaki Isthmus, parts of the North Shore, and West Auckland, plus the seabed, foreshore, and reclamations in the Waitemata Harbour, and northern parts of the Manukau Harbour. Claimants objected to the government selling land for a profit, they claimed regulations to protect Maori in transactions between settlers and Maori were not applied correctly, and said the government was supposed to set aside 10 percent of the land area sold for use or special benefit for the original owners.

19. On November 5, 2011, a settlement was signed in which Ngati Whatua Orakei received financial redress of $18-million plus interest, which enabled the tribe to buy the property at 99 Owens Rd, Epsom; the Wakakura block on the North Shore; buy and lease back to the Crown the Narrow Neck block on the North Shore; and buy and lease back to the Crown the Beresford, Birchfield, Hilary, Marsden and Plymouth housing blocks on the North Shore.



CONCLUSIONS: If I may make a brief summary of this complicated matter, inadequate though such a summary can be when there has been such an ebb and flow in human affairs and an interplay of racial relationship, I would say:-

1. The land was occupied, according to Maori tradition, early in the 19th century, by the Ngati-Whatua tribe who had conquered and exterminated the previous holders.

2. With the coming of the European settlers attempts were made to retain this land as permanent homes for the tribal occupants and their descendants.

3. As the numbers of these proliferated and as the interplay with the European settlers developed this proved, at least in close proximity to the developing towns, to be a clumsy and finally self-defeating ideal.

4. The Maoris at their own request were given the right to sell. Perhaps they were still too inexperienced in land dealing to guard their own interests.

5. However that may be, the Crown decided at the beginnning of this century to prevent private speculation and to purchase the land at Orakei and to endeavour to lay out a model suburb.

6. The prices paid, though comparatively meagre when viewed in retrospect some sixty years later, appear to have been generously assessed.

7. The purchase of the hill land did not immediately disadvantage the Maoris in their own minds so long as they had the Papakainga — the Orakei flat.

8. Slowly, however, most of the owners fell to the temptation of selling this too
I do not see any justification of an accusation of Crown duplicity in making the purchase — but there may have been lack of appreciation of how forlorn the Maoris would eventually feel when they discovered themselves landless and dependent upon State rental houses for even that amount of tenure in the lands which had comprised their home for a century or more.

9. There was a state of slumbering unease from 1950-1975, particularly during a period when Maori folk were politically more conscious of the public awareness that theirs had been a sad history in relation to land ownership.

10. The Government proposals of 1976 seem to lack any awareness of their sensitivity. The proposal to sell almost half of the remaining Crown land for private purchase — land which had been acquired over a period of 65 years to prevent this very development, was politically and socially inept. It is not surprising that protests came from many quarters.

11. Fortunately wise counsel on both sides has prevailed. The substituted scheme of 1978, approved by Maori Elders, and adopted by Cabinet, is a handsome remedy of long felt wrongs — whether they were real or imagined. The public in general will applaud that much of this vacant land will be public reserve accessible to all. An insignificant area will be sold and doubtless will provide necessary finance. But the largest area, including the houses in which the remnants of the tribe who are still together now live, will be vested in a Trust Board of the Ngati-Whatua tribe. If there has been conflict and animosity, this scheme, worked out by four wise men, and acceptable to the majority of the tribal Elders and to the Government, appears — if I may say so — to bring peace with honour.

12. I observe that in these negotiations the tribal Elders, when they met with the Prime Minister and the two Ministers, excluded from their meeting the representatives of the Action Group. I am told that they thought. that the Group had behaved in a manner inimical to Maori tradition in not heeding the wishes of their Elders and withdrawing their protest. It is not for me to comment on the etiquette and protocol of Maoridom —perhaps, however, had all parties met, either jointly or on separate occasions, they would not have continued in disagreement down to the Court hearing.

13. From all the foregoing it will be seen that I hold —(a) This is Crown land and is occupied without right, title or license by the Defendants. (b) There is absolutely no ground demonstrated which would persuade the Court to hold that the Plaintiff is barred from his relief on equitable grounds. (c) An injunction will issue in the terms sought. In view of the fact that the proceedings were brought in this court by the choice of the Crown, and for understandable reasons, there will be no order for costs either way.

14. One final word. When the Defendants and their group entered upon their course of conduct they were, of course, dubbed the Bastion Protestors — doubtless in the minds of many this stigmatised them as obstructionists for the sake of obstruction. After observing their demeanour over many days in Court and listening to their arguments, I am persuaded of the genuineness of their belief in the cause they have espoused — aggressive though they have sometimes been and disrespectful of their elders in a way not consonant with the Maori tradition. I have concluded that they are in error, and that they are not supported by the majority of the local Maori people. I trust that now that their arguments have been submitted to my decision, and that decision has been given in what I hope will be acknowledged to be a spirit of total sincerity, they will lend their undoubted energy to the progress of the area for the benefit of the Ngati-Whatua as a whole —something they have not been doing recently. I trust that the divisions will be healed and all will co-operate to assist in ameliorating the faults and errors of the past.



Bastion Point is another example of the Court and the Waitangi Tribunal coming to different conclusions.

Justice Speight in 1976 found the Government had bought this land legally and morally, a fact agreed by Ngati Whatua elders, but the Tribunal found in the claimants favour a few years later and it was returned to Ngati Whatua with many extras. See, “Bastion Point, The Judgement by Justice Speight”.....



S. S.                         


25 June 1991

Dear Sir,

Thank you for notifying me regarding the Saga of Bastion Point, however, I regret very much indeed, that Joe Hawke and his followers have succeeded in flaunting the laws of our country by a Tribunal, instead of following the laws of our Justice Department, as the rest of our N.Z. people do.

I have contacted the Hon. Sir Graham Speight, and he freely admits that his decision of Bastion Point was the only one that could be given by the laws of our country. However, he stated that he could not prevent a Government handing out money if they so desired, but of course the Ratepayers have to foot the bill.

Also, Sir, I have enclosed the writing of Sir Robert Muldoon in which he has expressed everything that we have also been fighting for; ever since October 1986, when my brother first wrote to the Rt Hon. David Lange and which became our initial letter to endeavour to give evidence to the Waitangi Tribunal. It was a fruitless effort, as the letters we sent to Judge Durie, the Waitangi Tribunal Secretariat, and even Koro Wetere, all went unanswered, even though the letter to the Secretariat was passed to every member of the Tribunal.

We are the only three surviving people who are able to give evidence that would have proved the Hon. Sir Graham Speight was right with his verdict, and which we approved of at that time.

All we are seeking is one country and one law. You stated in your letter Sir, that the Orakei claim had been thoroughly investigated to the evidence of the claim, but that is not true Sir, as our evidence has never been given - even to your own officials, or the Waitangi Tribunal.

In all of our letters we have stated that we would have given evidence on oath, but it appears now, Sir, that your own advisors have kept our evidence away from the Waitangi Tribunal concerning Bastion Point.

Now that the Tribunal has won its case on Bastion Point illegally, it will have opened the floodgates to many more handouts to the Maori, and it should now be your concern Sir, to control the Waitangi Tribunal by reducing the Waitangi Treaty to an historic document after 150 years.

Our Great Grandfather settled at Orakei, and all his children were born there, including ourselves.

Our Grandfather and his Father had a 99 year lease of approximately 700 acres which included all of Bastion Point and Mission Bay, and no Maori ever went on to it. We consider it our ancestral land, as our Grandfather was granted one and a half acres of land by the Crown when the lease was terminated.

All of our history is in the letters we have sent to you, but we did not request the return of the letters, only the return of our Aunty Em's memories; which are our family's private book and must always be returned.

If you would like the letters returned to you, we would be happy to do so.

I have found this an unpleasant ordeal in writing this letter to you Sir, but we wish you well and sincerely trust that you will obtain the assistance of other unbiassed advisors, and thoroughly investigate the evidence supplied by Sir Robert Muldoon, the Hon. Sir Graham Speight, and ourselves.

Yours sincerely,