For whatever reason, Thursday, May 22, 1978 found me cycling down Kepa Rd in Auckland's eastern suburbs on a school day. Whether wagging or on some other mission now lost in the mists of time is unclear.
Lumbering around the corner where the EastRidge mall is now – back then, there were horses in a field – was the most chilling sight: a convoy of army trucks, filled with soldiers moving in to help end the occupation of Bastion Point.
The state using armed force against its own citizens is one definition of the state breaking down. It is, or should be, unimaginable that such a resolution would occur today.
For that, and many other reasons, Ihumātao is not Bastion Point.
Where Ngati Whatua's stand at Bastion Point was crucial in paving the way for the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process, the Ihumātao dispute involves iwi interests where such a settlement has already occurred.
Te Kawerau A Maki, the relevant tribal authority, fought a long, often disappointing, battle to see the Otuataua stonefields preserved and to use settlement monies not only to gain housing for mana whenua but also to win a return of a small amount of land.
It believed it had achieved a win-win with Fletcher Building. Having that achievement spurned by some within its own ranks stings.
But there is no escaping that the Save Our Unique Landscape group opposing the Fletchers deal sprang from with the ranks of its own mana whenua, even if its support base is a growing throng of "outsiders", as Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters described SOUL's supporters this week.
Of course, it's odd to see Peters invoking tikanga quite so vigorously. He has made a political career as a kind of kupapa – the term for Maori who sided with the Crown in the 19th century – repeatedly opposing extensions of Maori rights and interests for political advantage.
But politics delivers such petty hypocrisies every week.
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The greater sin appears to have been the previous government's Special Housing Area legislation.
Born of desperation to contain exploding housing costs, SHA status truncated public consultation and, when combined with creating the Auckland Super City, gave the descendants of the pakeha owners of the confiscated land the chance to get it zoned for residential development.
The same truncated SHA process appears to be part of a similar problem in Wellington, where in-fighting among Maori owners of land at Shelly Bay on the Miramar Peninsula has created a hothouse environment for other opponents of one thing New Zealand needs a lot more of: affordable housing.
So, how could the current impasse be resolved without resorting to eviction?
If the government buys the land, it buys a heap of trouble.
Since the settlement process began in earnest in the 1990s, governments have worried that the words 'full and final settlement' were likely to be tested by successive generations of Maori activists.
They were right. Ihumātao is the current flashpoint. All New Zealanders need to be open-minded about the possibility, even likelihood, that an endless process of renegotiated settlements will be part of the price a successful, peaceful democracy will have to pay for the scars still unhealed from 19th century colonisation and land theft.
Failure to do so puts at risk the slow but real progress towards a more optimistic future, and the potential for the politics of grievance and victimhood to be fuelled by a not unreasonable view among many Maori that the system will always be stacked against them.
However, government purchase still looks like a last resort. A more creative solution is required.
Can Fletcher Building help? The butt of anti-corporate sentiment in the current protests, Fletcher almost certainly wants out. In other circumstances, it might have had the option to make a one-off gift of the land to mana whenua, perhaps with some of the housing plans intact.
However, even if its tin-eared board were bold enough to contemplate that, its long-suffering shareholders are looking for a turnaround from recent disasters, not another costly mistake.
It probably can't act alone, even if it wanted to.
Who else might benefit from funding a non-government but lasting settlement of this issue? How about those who profit now and need more land on the plundered peninsula?
Auckland International Airport, right next door, is already in the gun for digging up ancient Maori remains as it investigated its second runway. Might it chip in as an investment in what PR types term a company's 'social licence to operate'.
So, too, might Mainfreight, which has a massive warehouse on the road to the airport and boasts socially engaged leadership. So, too, might others. At that point, a helping hand from local or central government might tip the balance without reopening the can of worms of a settlement renegotiation.
It's just a thought.