40 years on - Lens on Bastion Point

By Ngahuia Wade
  • Auckland

A prolific photographer who shot pictures during the occupation of Bastion Point says younger generations have got to keep protesting if they want to have a world that’s worth living in.

John Miller was one of the photographers at Bastion Point. 

"I didn’t see it as doom and gloom, I saw it as a positive atmosphere of people pushing back against the state and pushing back against Muldoon," says Miller.

In 1977, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei occupied Takaparawhau to raise awareness about the theft of their land.   

They were forcibly evicted 506 days later.

Sharon Hawke, whose family was instrumental in the protest, says Miller stood out during the occupation.

"He was not your average Māori looking bloke.  He loved the camo army gear look.  He was sort of an ex-Vietnam soldier but his weapon was the camera," she says.

Miller says that protest was prolific when he was growing up.

"At secondary school it was Vietnam, at Uni it was- in 1969- twin streams of protest in Vietnam and in sport against South Africa.  It was just quite natural to get involved to support these causes," he says.

Two exhibitions at Auckland Museum and Pearce Gallery are showcasing the images of Bastion Point.