Waitangi Day, Bastion Point – a place to take a stand

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On Waitangi Day, 6 February 2016, I decided to honour the history of Bastion point by going to a Waitangi Day Festival there. The event notice for it said it was from 10.00am to 6pm, that “Kiwi reggae favourites, House of Shem are headlining” and invited the public to,

“… join Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, as we celebrate Waitangi Day Festival 2016, in conjunction with Auckland Council.

Commemorating the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi by Māori chiefs and representatives of the British crown on 6th February 1840, join Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei to celebrate the occasion with this free event.

The website for New Zealand History: Nga korero a Ipurangi o Aotearoa, has a summary of the history of Bastion Point.

My video shows some moments from the festival:

It wasn’t the best of weather for an outdoor event, especially in the morning, so I arrived early afternoon. There was a small crowd in front of the stage in the rain. There was a very welcoming, and infectious sound of a man and woman on stage rapping, immediately drawing me in. I was ready to rock.

The rain showers came and went. That and the strong wind made filming a pretty trying task. But the audience wasn’t bothered, continuing to dance and sway throughout the showers: the warm wind soon dried us out. Numbers of people increased as the weather improved.

The first performance that I really watched was that of Majic Paora. She honour the history of Bastion Point, and her Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei connection.

The occupation of Bastion Point began on 5 January 1977 – read about it here:

Joe Hawke led an occupation of Takaparawhā (Bastion Point reserve), Auckland, to protest against the Crown’s decision to sell land that Ngāti Whātua maintained had been wrongly taken from them.

The occupation began after the government announced plans for a housing development on former Ngāti Whātua reserve land. The land had been gradually reduced in size by compulsory acquisition, leaving Ngāti Whātua ki Orākei holding less than 1 ha. Police evicted the occupiers after 506 days. Following a Waitangi Tribunal inquiry and recommendations, much of the land was returned to or vested with Ngāti Whātua.

Majic talked of all the ways music was important, and sang soulful songs of struggle, love, fun and unity. From there on it was reggae all the way.

This Majic YouTube video begins with a homage to Bob Marley

The MC urged people to dance to the sound of recorded music between the live acts. He got the crowd going with his requests for people to dance, and many happily obliged.

Bob Marley’s birthday was celebrated with some recordings of his songs.

The view out across the Waitemata was, as usual, spectacular, with the sight of rain showers coming towards us across the harbour.

Next on stage was 1814, with some great sounds and rhythm – perfect for a relaxed afternoon outdoors – and people kept dancing and moving.

Here’s their YouTube version of Ring of Fire:

The final act was House of Shem. Before they began, Carl Perkins said:

now is the time –

we need to stand –

against the TPPA.

The House of Shem set was very worthy of the headline status.

Here’s the House of Shem & Big Mountain “Hard Road” official video:

An excellent community, family-friendly day, honouring and celebrating the day, respecting the place, and remembering struggles past, present and future.

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Carolyn is committed to economic and social justice. She has researched and taught in film, TV and media studies, sociology and gender studies. Carolyn is actively interested in local history, and its impact on the present and future. Carolyn currently works part time as a research librarian in Auckland Libraries, which is part of Auckland Council. The views, analysis, and opinions she expresses on this site are her own, and not those of Auckland Council.

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