Troops, backed by more than 500 policemen, cleared over 300 Maori men, women and children from their homes on ancestral Maori land near the city of Auckland in New Zealand on Thursday (25 May).
SV Army vehicles arrive with police aboard
CU Placards on ground PAN TO police moving in (5 shots)
SV Mr. George McMillan, Commissioner of Lands in truck speaks to squatters on PA system
SV Squatters doing Maori war dance
SV PAN Police form wall around squarters
SV Squatters moving out as police speak to them (2 shots)
SV Police escorting squatters out of premises
SV PAN Truck load of arrested squatters leaving site
SV Workmen break up squatters' huts (3 shots)
TRANSCRIPT: TOOGOOD: "The mammoth operation began before dawn with army vehicles arriving at ???bsonville Airbase to collect the police billeted there. Dawn at Bastion Point saw nearly 300 protestors awaiting the arrival of the authorities and there was a feeling of strained tension in the air. Protestors and supporters had been awaiting this day for weeks and there was a slight feeling of unreality that the time had finally arrived. Sentries had been posted at strategic points to warn of the approaching convoy. But it was an army helicopter which was the first sign of the impending police arrival. Although it had been expected, the sudden arrival of the army vehicles came as a shock, and the foll-wing take-over of Bastion Point by police saw scenes never before experienced in New Zealand. With police surrounding he whole area, the final warning was given to the squatters."
SEQ. 4: MCMILLAN: "I hereby officially inform every person here that is not a member of the police, who is not an officer of the Department of Lands and Surveys or not a person whose presence here is specifically authorised by me or my agents, that he or she is a trespasser. I hereby require every such person to leave this place."
TOOGOOD: "And with the final warning and arrests imminent, police who had tightly encircled the meeting house area and protestors began to move among the crowd, asking them to leave the Point which had been occupied for nearly 17 months. About 200 protestors were arrested. All the others left the area voluntarily. The point itself, the shacks which had slowly sprung up over the months of occupation, were quickly knocked to the ground and before long, what had been homes to about 30 permanent people were shattered wrecks."
The decision to evict the Maori protestors from the ancestral land which they had occupied for nearly two years, came after a New Zealand Supreme Court had ruled this occupation was illegal. Police had to do most of the demolition work themselves. They were prevented from hiring contractors because of a ban imposed by the Auckland Trades Council barring any trade union member from helping them. Mr. Venn Young, Minister of Lands, said the government had no alternative but to evict the Maoris by force. He said most New Zealanders abhorred the way they had "trifled with the law". The leader of the Maori protestors, Mr. Joe Hawke said in a later television interview that he would return to Bastion Point and start all over again because the land was sacred. The police action was, he said, "a horrendous and imbecilic action" against his people. The opposition M.P. for Southern Maoris, Mrs. Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan said in New Zealand's parliament that the operation was a "r???deo-type" round-up of non-violent protestors.
REPORTER: CHAS TOOGOOD
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Troops, backed by more than 500 policemen, cleared over 300 Maori men, women and children from their homes on ancestral Maori land near the city of Auckland in New Zealand on Thursday (25 May). The land was at Bastion Point, a choice site overlooking Waitemata Harbour. Always a prized Maori possession, it has been expropriated by the government for housing development. After the police moved the peaceful Maori protestors and arrested more than 200 of them, their homes were bulldozed down. Later, as Maoris and supporters held peaceful protests throughout New Zealand, the Lands Minister in Mr. Robert Muldoon's government, Mr. Venn Young warned the Maoris not to try to seize back the land. Here with a report on the police action is Chas Toogood of the Broadcasting Corporation of New Zealand.