Commemoration mark 40 years since Bastion Point arrests

Friday marks 40 years since hundreds of protesters were forcibly removed by the army and police from Auckland's Bastion Point.

Protesters and police came together at the site to remember what is now considered one of the defining moments in the push for Māori land rights. 

Two hundred and twenty people were arrested and protesters were removed after camping at Bastion Point for 506 days. Precious Clark's parents were among the peaceful activists.

"It was a day of shame for New Zealand," she told Newshub on Friday.

"On that day I was in the back of a truck with two of my other newborn cousins, we were all under a year old. 

"So it's really thinking about the fear, the courage, the tenacity of that day."

The group was protesting a Government plan to build houses at Bastion Point. In the late 1880s, Ngāti Whātua Orākei had loaned the land to the military temporarily but the government failed to give it back.

Joe Hawke led the Bastion Point protest and his son, Taiaha Hawke, said they were fighting for the land and the survival of his people.

"You can't forget the experience of the mistreatment and the agony and the suffering of our tupuna [ancestors] but like I said before, we look forward to a brighter day."

Māori from the across the country and many Pākehā took part in the protest - which also gave courage to other Maori to stand up for their rights

The land has since been handed back to Ngāti Whātua Orākei, which is now third biggest landowner in Auckland. 

It was a struggle that has meant the next generation didn't have to.