Bastion Point - pain, loss and occupation

By Taroi Black

As we countdown the days to mark 40 years since the arrests that took place at Bastion Point, one father retells a significant event which ended in tragedy- losing his daughter during the occupation.

Alec Hawke found redemption through music.

Hawke says, “A lot of us had to work as well and my particular work at the time was a muso”.

It’s a musical composition Mr. Hawke and his whānau dedicated to their daughter Joannee who died tragically at just 5-years-old at Bastion Point in 1977.

“I never think you could ever deal with Joannee’s loss.  It's always a constant.  Her memorial at Bastion Point, we pass every day.  Her remains down at the urupā, we pass every day. Our feeling towards Joannee is one of wholesomeness.  It's one of remembering what she was like”.

Alec is the younger brother of Ngāti Whātua protest leader Joe Hawke, who led the fight for the return of Bastion Point.

“Joe leading us took us through the history that we once lost. This city was once ours”.

“Music was sort of a nice way to get into what we were doing. Māori singing was always vibrant”.

Alec feels the presence of his daughter in Precious Clarke who carries the name.

“It was the proudest moment.  I was part of the Rugby World Cup team organising the iwi and we had to do a lot of things to get Precious there and it was the greatest opening that I've ever been associated with”.

To mark the occasion, Ngāti Whātua will hold a dawn service for Joannee this Friday at Orakei.

“The painful times in between a long hard slog of negotiating and where we're going”.