23 Oct 2016

Bastion Point revisited

From Standing Room Only, 12:30 pm on 23 October 2016
Bastion Point

Still from 'Bastion Point - Day 507' Photo: Merata Mita, Leon Narbey and Gerd Pohlmann

The newly restored version of the documentary no broadcaster dared to screen and the police once tried to confiscate is about to be screened publicly for the first time.

39 years ago protesters occupying Bastion Point - or Takaparawhā - were evicted by police and armed forces, ending an occupation that had lasted 506 days.

The protestors were fighting plans for a housing development on land that had once belonged to Ngāti Whātua.

The late Merata Mita and cameramen Gerd Pohlmun and Leon Narbey were the first film crew on the scene.

The footage they shot that day (which became the 1980 film Bastion Point - Day 507) has been restored and combined with footage from others who were also there for the 2016 version.

Cameraman Leon Narbey and Sarah Davy and Honiana Love from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision talk about the power and significance of Bastion Point - Day 507.

Leon Narbey on his experience at Bastion Point:

"We were there very early. Merata and Gerd and myself were the only film crew on the point at that time. We were aware of the army and the police coming – that was before 9 o’clock – and we were on there while they broke through the barriers and surrounded the entire marae… There was a very intense wait and they gradually came closer and closer… The marae was full of people, terrified. This is pre-‘81. We weren’t sure what was going to happen… The people were out there on the marae, outside the wharenui, in a V-shape as a welcoming thing. They were singing… Adrenalin was flowing and there was this edge of potential violence."

Bastion Point - Day 507 screens at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision in Wellington on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 October

Have a look at the restored version below: