Topp Twins in special fight
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.
Topp Twins at Bastion Point.