Topp Twins in special fight

The Tribune (NZ) - - ENJOY -

Twenty nine years ago, on July 1 1988 the New Zealand Gov­ern­ment brought to a close the saga of one of the coun­try’s great­est protests. It an­nounced that Taka­parawha¯ – the land known as Bas­tion Point – would be re­turned to lo­cal iwi.

The land, over­look­ing Waitem­ata Har­bour, was slated to be sub­di­vided for private hous­ing. Nga¯ti Wha¯tua said the area had been wrong­fully taken from them by the Crown. Their 506-day oc­cu­pa­tion be­gan on Jan­uary 5 1977.

At just 19 years old, The Topp Twins were among many drawn to the oc­cu­pa­tion.

‘‘It seemed that a lot of things were go­ing on in New Zealand, po­lit­i­cally,’’ re­called Lynda Topp in the doc­u­men­tary Un­touch­able Girls. ‘‘There was a special fight go­ing on there.’’

She re­lated how the pair sab­o­taged drainage pip­ing put in by de­vel­op­ers. A mid­night com­mando-style raid with bags of ce­ment and hot-wa­ter bot­tles did the trick!

When the po­lice came to break up the oc­cu­pa­tion, the twins were on the front lines.

‘‘A lot of peo­ple had made the de­ci­sion to get ar­rested,’’ said Lynda, and the twins had de­cided that they would too. But as ar­rest drew nigh, fel­low ac­tivist Me­ri­ana Pit­man grabbed a loud­hailer and told them to get back, since they were needed to play a ben­e­fit con­cert the fol­low­ing day, to raise money for those ar­rested.

‘‘They were true friends and true al­lies,’’ said Pit­man.

The Topp Twins ex­hi­bi­tion, on now at Te Manawa un­til Oc­to­ber 29, chron­i­cles the twins’ ac­tivism in the is­sues of the day, such as the Spring­bok Tour and the anti-nu­clear protests. You can even cre­ate your own per­son­alised bit of ac­tivism. Ad­mis­sion is $5 adults, un­der-18s free.

They also per­form at the Re­gent on Broad­way on Satur­day Au­gust 12.

Photo GILHANLY

Topp Twins at Bas­tion Point.

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