web analytics
The Standard
Advertising

In the shadow of Savage

Written By: - Date published: 8:33 am, December 26th, 2013 - 17 comments
Categories: activism, democratic participation, labour, Maori Issues, Unions, welfare, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

The 25th of December is a good day for traveling around Auckland and visiting a historic site or 2. Yesterday I went to the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial on Auckland’s waterfront, next to Bastion Point.  So much political history in one small area!

Like Richard Seddon and William Massey, Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage died in office (in March 1940). Like Massey, Savage was buried in a gun bunker originally built for the 1885 Russian scare. It was decided to erect a memorial above his grave at Bastion Point, Auckland. A competition was held and was won by two Auckland architects, Tibor Donner and Anthony Bartlett. The design had a garden, a reflecting pool and the statue of a worker. The pool and garden were built, but the worker was seen as too divisive a symbol.

Instead, sculptor Richard Gross provided a design for a tall obelisk. On the side facing the pool was a figure symbolic of love and justice, while facing the sea was a portrait of Savage surrounded by flowers. Above were the words ‘He loved his fellow men’, and, below, ‘There is no fame to rise above the crowning honour of a people’s love.’

[Sigh] Too divisive a symbol, eh? It’s a beautiful site. I wonder how much of the history of the area Kiwi and overseas visitors are aware of. At the main entrance of the memorial park is a sign with a very abbreviated history.  The side facing Mission Bay: IMG_0167 The print says:

In 1860, 1879 and 1880 Ngati Whatua leaders Tuhaere and Te Kawau assembled many North island chiefs to the Kohimaramara Conference to establish a Maori Parliament.  They sough redress on land issues and equality under the law.  In the 1930s Maori sought remedy through Michael Savage, the then Prime Minister, of the Labour Government. With Maori support Labour had entered parliament for the first time beginning a long standing relationship.

The side facing the city: IMG_0165 The print under Savage’s picture says,

An embankment carries Tamaki Drive past the base of Resolution Point and across Hobson Bay.  On the east side is Okahu Bay, the site of a Ngati Whatua village until the 1950’s. The road skirts a headland known as Bastion Point, the end of which is now occupied by the Tamaki Yacht Club.  On the other side of the road once stood Fort Bastion, built during the “Russian Scare:” of the 1880s. Gun emplacements here once guarded the entrance to the Waitemata Harbour, as did other fortifications on Mt. Victoria and North head at Devonport on the North Shore.

Bastion Point was named after (the) Bastion Rock, a distinctive fort-like outcrop which stood offshore here until the 1920’s, when it was demolished during the formation of Tamaki Drive.  This is now the site of the memorial to Michael Joseph savage (1872-1940), this country’s first Labour Prime Minister, remembered by a tall obelisk, sunken pool and gardens.

The memorial: IMG_0187 The other side has an image of Savage. MJ Savage Memorial_2

To the right of the memorial, in the background is Ōrākei Marae.

MJ Savage Memorial_Marae_3 Ōrākei Marae: Bastion Point Marae_1 The Waka Maori site gives some history of the Marae:

Ngāti Whātua history in Tāmaki Makaurau began in the 17th century when Te Taoū, a hapū of Ngāti Whātua led principally by Tuperiri, successfully campaigned against the area’s incumbent proprietors, Waiohua.

However, within five years of signing the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, the thousands of acres previously occupied by Ngāti Whātua had been reduced to only 700 acres at Ōrākei.

As a result of Government policy, decades of displacement and loss followed for hapū members who were evicted from their homes and marae buildings burnt.

However, an announcement in 1976 by the National Party, led by Prime Minister Robert Muldoon, that uncommitted land at Bastion Point would be taken for high income housing and parks marked a turning point in the country’s history when some Ngāti Whātua occupied Bastion Point in January 1977.

The following 506 days of non-violent occupation and protest ended on 25 May 1978 when 222 protesters were arrested and the temporary meeting house, buildings, and gardens they had established were demolished.

However, subsequent demands for the return of Ngāti Whātua land was the catalyst for the formation of the current Waitangi Tribunal, as well as Treaty settlements for iwi throughout New Zealand.

In 1991 the marae was returned to Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei, which now controls a property asset base worth in the range of $400 million, with only $3 million derived from Treaty settlement.

Bastion Point protest 1978

Bastion Point protest 1978:  New Zealand history online/Nga korero a ipurangi o Aotearoa

An excellent vegetable garden initiative on Ōrākei Marae was included in a 3 News report last night.

On 25 December 2013, a handful of people were protesting near the entrance to the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park. Bastion Point falun gong protest There were also placards in the car park. The banners/placards were in Chinese.  I guess they were targeting international tourists. The English language pamphlet I was given explained the protest.  It had the url for this website.  And this one about organ harvesting: the main focus of the pamphlet.

So much political history in one site – as well as being a tourist site for its gardens and harbour views.  And that really adds up to a very strange mix. I’m glad Savage’s name is kept alive in the landscape.  I’m sorry the statue of a  worker was not included.

Remember the Savage Labour government and what it achieved!

Remember Bastion Point and the public face of brutal government repression!

And remember that once the Labour Party had the strong support of Maori.

MJ Savage Memorial_Marae_4

17 comments on “In the shadow of Savage”

  1. One Anonymous Knucklehead 1

    The National Party has responded to the protest:

    “No matter what rent-a-mob have to say, this year’s organ harvest has been a particularly good one.
    Why can’t you celebrate some positive news for once?”

  2. RedLogix 2

    A timely reminder karol. In one post two strong connections to our whakapapa – MJS and Orakei.

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    Amazing National has not flattened the MJ Savage site for a mansion development or NSA receiver.

    One thing is for sure; the current National Prime Minister will never have such a beautiful memorial accorded at such a significant site. Michael Joseph Savage was a “dear leader” in the truest sense.

    In the 70s “Mickey Sav” car park after dark was a very popular place for young people to “get together” for social interaction in their old American V8s. These days it is gated between sunset and sunrise and fair enough too, it should be kept in pristine condition.

  4. tricledrown 4

    Key will erect his own memorial in Hawaii.
    Key NewZealands greatest beneficiary of Michael Joseph Savage.Keys Epitaph.
    I Took advantage of everything
    MJS’s Labour govt offered
    Free housing
    Mums widows benefit
    Free education
    Free heathcare
    Etc.
    I used all these advantages
    Then turned my back on the people who paid my way ripped everybody off I could then sold NZ down the Drain.

  5. Pete 5

    Here’s a booklet published early in 1937 detailing Labour’s achievements in its first year in office. An impressive set of accomplishments.

    • Macro 5.1

      And excellent read! All actions could well be repeated by a new Left Government with similar results – its not rocket science. The summary on pp 46-47 is telling.

  6. tracey 6

    from a time when many had nothing and community was everything … community is now nothing and peolle ecpect everything… in wouth auckland it is sgill mickey savage time.

    • karol 6.1

      Yesterday in a public space in West Auckland, I saw a group of varying ages (possibly just one whanau) playing volleyball. Just a ball, and an engaged group and it looked like loads of fun.

      • Tiger Mountain 6.1.1

        There are many reserves and public spaces out West, some hidden treasures.

        Across the road is Northall Reserve near Fruitvale school with an upper sports field and lower field with native plantings, which was instituted according to signage to celebrate all the babies born in Waitakere council area! Every night of the week there are informal touch games, cricket and people just having evening picnics there. An oasis in the city though a quiet neighbourhood really.

        And for off leash dog lovers there is expansive Craig Avon Park in Blockhouse Bay off Kinross and Connaught Sts and KakaMatua inlet on the way to Huia. Cars needed for this one unless you live there.

  7. adam 7

    I always thought a good measure of a government would be the fact that it put up the statue that was originally intended for the site. Odd for nearly 100 years that has not happened – indeed we have two labour governments that many of the original labour party members would have thought were scum.

    I know the labour party has always had it’s moderates, indeed, Micky Savage was one of them. But I’d rather have his type of moderate, than that of many inside the labour party caucus who say they are moderates, and are really neo-liberal hacks.

    Nicely done Karol, it is such a wonderful site and your pictures are great. They do it no justice for the place really, – people should go and get a feel for it . Indeed for you who live outside Auckland it is a must visit site when here. Personally, I will always love Ngāti Whātua for offering this memorial site to the nation.

  8. tracey 8

    karol. same at cornwall park. when you have no money you see the value of the simple things. family and fun.

    interestingly the demographic at cornwall park bbqs and grass areas is strongly pacific and asia. i note they are building a cafe by the band rotunda. a shame in many ways.

  9. tricledrown 9

    Karol family is the best thing anyone can have .
    Research shows those with supportive families are the happiest and healthiest.
    Research also shows that money can only buy so much happines ‘Once your income passes $75,000 dollars their is only a 1 to 3% increase in happiness.
    So happy holidays to all here at the standard.

  10. tracey 10

    some of the wealthiest people i know are the ones who complain about how much tax they pay

  11. philj 11

    xox.
    Some of the wealthy folks I know don’t pay any tax. Roll on for a change of government and, hopefully, a major change in our countries policy direction. I won’t hold my breath. People need hope and if South Auckland don’t vote en mass, then we deserve all we get. (or don’t get). MSM/NZ Inc. SKY, Fletchers, Downers etc, will start trumpeting how well NZ is doing, and lead to the feel good “all is well” in Aotearoa. David Cunliffe, please don’t become NZ’s Obama. Bold policy is needed and get your Neo Cons on board or get rid of them.

    • Will@Welly 11.1

      We need to have a serious look at our tax laws. Family trusts and so forth, and Peter Dunne’s “legitimate” tax avoidance rules need completely overhauling.
      We’ve seen those at the bottom end of society end up penalized for minor misdemeanors, while those who have the means and the where-with-all, get away with $$$millions.

    • Francis 11.2

      “Some of the wealthy folks I know don’t pay any tax.”

      Yet they still complain about the tax they don’t pay…

  12. … the worker was seen as too divisive a symbol.

    Bangs head on desk…

Important links

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

1 2 3 7

  • Ministers must answer questions on IRD blowout
    The current and previous Revenue Ministers must front up and explain how the child support system had a budget blowout from $30 million to $210 million in just four years, says Labour’s Revenue spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “Peter Dunne was Revenue… ...
    15 hours ago
  • Curb stratospheric public CEO salaries
    A review of the way MPs’ pay is set should also look at ways to curb excessive rises in the salaries of public service chief executives, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Some of these CEOs have had stratospheric pay increases… ...
    19 hours ago
  • 50 cents? Makes no sense.
    The minimum wage rose by 50 cents this month from 14.25 to 14.75. While it’s a small step towards ensuring minimum workers get a fair share, it’s important to remember that real wages only rose 1.5% while productivity rose by… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 days ago
  • The Serco corrections circus
    It should seem obvious to employers, private or public, that it’s important to do what you can to retain your best, most experienced staff. They make life easier for you because they’re effective, attentive and often respected by those around… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    2 days ago
  • Time for NZ to prohibit the killing of great apes
    That ban was widely hailed, and spurred efforts in other countries to get similar bans. However, apes are still being exploited, abused and killed, both in captivity and in the wild. Examples of cruelty, neglect and abuse abound. Apes are… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    5 days ago
  • Auckland building consents: Tragic
    The only word to describe the latest building consent figures for Auckland is ‘tragic’, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Whatever the Government is doing to address the Auckland housing crisis, it is clearly not working. ...
    5 days ago
  • A whiff of a new biosecurity scandal?
    A pest which could create havoc for New Zealand’s horticulture and agriculture sector must be as much a focus for the Government as hunting out fruit flies, Labour’s Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “While the Ministry for Primary Industries is… ...
    5 days ago
  • Government shrugs off health sector crisis
    Despite new evidence showing that cuts to health spending are costing lives the Government continues to deny the sector is struggling, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Health services in New Zealand are in crisis. ...
    6 days ago
  • Parata lowered the bar for failing charter school
    When Hekia Parata became aware that the Whangaruru charter school was experiencing major problems her first action was to drop standards by reducing the number of qualified teachers they had to employ, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins has revealed. “Hekia… ...
    6 days ago
  • National not being straight about the economy
    John Key and Bill English need to be straight with New Zealanders about the damage their failure to diversify the economy is doing, after new figures show export growth plunged due to a collapse in dairy exports, says Grant Robertson.… ...
    6 days ago
  • Mind the Gap
    This week the International Monetary Fund released a report on the wider economic value in closing the gender pay gap. When even the bastions of free-market economics start to raise concerns about gender pay gaps, we have to realise how… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    6 days ago
  • Labour will hold National to parental leave promise
    Labour will hold National to its promise to increase the support given to new parents of premature, multiple birth and babies born with disabilities, Labour’s paid parental leave campaigner Sue Moroney says. "I am naturally disappointed that after battling for… ...
    6 days ago
  • It was all just pillar talk
    Steven Joyce’s confession that he can no longer guarantee a pillar-free design for the New Zealand International Convention Centre shows the Government has abandoned its dream of creating an ‘iconic’ ‘world-class’ structure, says Labour Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. “Steven… ...
    7 days ago
  • Australians move on offshore speculators
    John Key might want to have a quiet word with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott about Canberra's just-announced crack down on offshore speculators when he visits New Zealand this week, Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says."Tony Abbott's centre right government… ...
    7 days ago
  • Government at odds on overseas driver crashes
    National backbencher Jacqui Dean has spoken out about overseas driver crashes, putting herself at odds with Prime Minister John Key who is on record as saying it’s not a big issue, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “I’m not surprised… ...
    7 days ago
  • Human Rights and the Palestine Crisis
    Last week I heard two Palestinians speak at Wellington events about the ongoing crisis in their country. Samar Sabawi spoke to a full house about the history of Palestine and gave us a lucid and disturbing account of the situation… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    7 days ago
  • Time to take real care of our kids
    An Amnesty International report has once again criticised New Zealand’s track record on looking after our kids, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. The annual report, which looks at global human rights abuses highlights not only the fact that high… ...
    7 days ago
  • John Key wrong about Labour’s war vote
    John Key’s desperate claims that the former Labour Government didn’t put combat troop deployment to a Parliamentary vote are simply wrong, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says. “It was disgraceful that the Prime Minister ran rough shod over democracy and… ...
    7 days ago
  • Māori language bill needs work
     It is clear that the first draft of the Māori Language Bill was about structures and funding rather than the survival of te reo Māori, Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.  “Labour is pleased that the Minister of Māori… ...
    7 days ago
  • Report proves troubled school shouldn’t have opened
    The long-awaited release of an Education Review Office report into Northland’s troubled Whangaruru charter school proves it should never have been approved in the first place, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “This report identifies problems with absenteeism and disengaged… ...
    1 week ago
  • Manus Island and the New Zealand Government
    This week the Greens have participated in awareness activity about Manus Island, the refugee camp on an island in Papua New Guinea where Australia dumps asylum seekers. John Key says that he has every confidence in the Australian Government’s claim… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Election Inquiry – Getting accessible voting on the agenda
    James Shaw has been doing a series of blogs on the Election Inquiry into last year’s general election.  I thought this was a great opportunity to raise an issue very dear to me – accessible voting. Last year’s general election… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    2 weeks ago
  • RMA changes no solution to Christchurch housing
    Housing will continue to be a big issue in 2015. The latest Consumer Price Index, released last month, shows both good news and bad news on the housing front. After years of being the most expensive place to build a… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Saving kokako in South Auckland’s Hunua Ranges
    It is amazing that you can hear the song of the endangered North Island kokako in South Auckland’s Hunua Ranges, less than 50 kms from the central city. A heavy schedule of policy workshops at the Green Party’s Policy… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Let’s not turn a blind eye to human rights
    The Cricket World Cup has just opened in New Zealand, and it’s an opportunity for us to shine on the world stage. International sport can be a chance for us to build relationships with other countries, and examine what it… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Its Just Not Cricket
    This week it was my privilege to work with Sri Lankan Tamil communities in this country and host Australian journalist and human rights advocate Trevor Grant. I knew a bit about Trevor from his biography but I didn’t know just… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    3 weeks ago
  • Time for NZ to #BeCrueltyFree
    The Government is about to progress the final stages of the Animal Welfare Amendment bill. This will be our last opportunity to get changes made to improve the bill to ensure a better outcome for animals. I have put forwards… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    3 weeks ago
  • We want access!
    Access to buildings is a big issue for many New Zealanders. It looks like that, due to the hard work and persistence of people in the disability community, the Government may finally be starting to take access to buildings seriously.… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    3 weeks ago
  • Greens call on Super Fund to divest from fossil fuels
    The Green Party today called on the New Zealand Superannuation Fund (the Fund) to divest from fossil fuels, starting immediately with coal. The call was accompanied with a new report, Making money from a climate catastrophe: The case for divesting… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    3 weeks ago

Removed at the request of The Daily Blog.
Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere