Mobile Unit. Māori Battalion returns to New Zealand
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Commentary and actuality of the arrival in Wellington of the troop ship 'Dominion Monarch' returning Second Expeditionary Force personnel, including members of the (28th) Māori Battalion. From the vantage point of a crane on Pipitea Wharf, the announcer describes the scene of welcome, with actuality of bands playing and crowds cheering. The commentary continues on Aotea Quay where the formal Māori welcome takes place; the announcer is joined by Wiremu (Bill) Parker who narrates the events.
[The online audio begins at Part 4.]
Part 1. Commentary by an unidentified announcer as the 'Dominion Monarch' comes in past Oriental Bay to berth at Pipitea Wharf. Due to the rough weather it took some time for the ship to come in to the harbour and berth. The band of the 1st Wellington Regiment will play as the ship berths. Flags are fluttering over the wharf. About 800 members of the Maori Battalion are on board and 2463 other 2NZEF personnel. Also on board are 95 wives and 20 children of ex-New Zealand soldiers, coming to live in New Zealand from homes overseas. The men concerned have to cover the fare of their fiancées, but wives are carried free of charge. The Red Cross has set up supplies to feed the women and children for their onward journeys. The Salvation Army have also set up a centre on the wharf for families of the returning men. The men will be allowed to return to their homes as soon as they land, unlike most other countries where they have to go into camps to be processed. The Maori Battalion will disembark first, followed by the South Island men and then other men organised by the district to which they are heading. The band of the 5th Battalion of the Wellington Regiment plays. The official party arrives at the wharf: Acting Prime Minister Mr Nash, Minister of Defence Mr Jones, Minister of Rehabilitation Mr Skinner, Mr Bowden MP representing the Opposition, Mayor of Wellington Mr Will Appleton, who has a son returning in this draft, also a representative of the RSA and the chairman of Harbour Board.
Part 2. Band plays "Sons of the Anzacs" as commentary from the wharf continues. A pipe band is playing further up the wharf and cheers can be heard from the men on board as the ship nears the wharf. 'Māori Battalion" is played. Some war brides are arriving in New Zealand with their husbands and getting glimpses of New Zealand for the first time. Men of the Māori Battalion can be seen waving to friends on the wharf. The official party of representatives of the Māori people are also on the wharf.
The Battalion will be challenged by Mr Amohau, formerly Sergeant Amohau and composer of the Māori Battalion March. The announcer gives details of the official pōwhiri and lists the food items that have been provided for the lunch that is to follow.
A studio announcer interrupts the relay to advise that the official function of the Māori Battalion welcome will commence at 12:30 p.m. at Aotea Quay.
The wharf announcer gives some history of war service of the 'Dominion Monarch'. The bagpipes and drummers of the 1st Battalion, Wellington Regiment play in the background.
Part 3. Continuation of the wharf broadcast. Pipe band in the background. The announcer notes the ship is about four hours' behind schedule. He notes a soldier wearing a red fez, a souvenir of service in the Middle East. Brass band of the Wellington Regiment plays "Roll Out the Barrel". A crane prepares to lift the gangway into place. The ship stretches almost the full length of the wharf. He notes by the end of next month, almost all men who served overseas should be home. Pipe band plays again. the bad weather of earlier has cleared and the sun is now shiing. Large crowds now watching the arrival of the ship. He describes men on board clinging to rigging, masts - any vantage point.
Part 4. The broadcast from Pipitea Wharf concludes with the arrival of the Dominion Monarch. Members of the Navy are on the wharf helping to tie up the ship's lines.
The announcer reiterates that the “Māori marae or welcome will be broadcast at approximately 12:30... followed by their luncheon prepared by their friends from Wellington and the surrounding districts." He then signs off from the wharf.
The broadcast of the pōwhiri then commences from Aotea Quay. Announcer Wiremu "Bill" Parker describes the day as one of sorrow and grief mingled with pride and gratitude for the Māori people. He describes the scene with hundreds of people from all parts of the country gathered around the marae, including Mason Durie, Hohepa Wineera, Hemi Hoani Te Heuheu, Matiu Rātana, Toroa Ngātau, Kānapu Haerehuka, Ihaia Puketapu, Pirihira Heketa and her daughter Miriama Heketa with the Ngāti Pōneke Party, and Te Mare Te Heuheu. The hundreds gathered include “a sprinkling of Europeans, old and young, scores of young folk, school boys and girls, a party of school children from Te Waipounamu, the South Island have been entertaining the crowd." Cross back to the studio until the Māori Battalion arrive.
Part 5. An unidentified announcer and Wiremu Parker continue the commentary from the marae, describing the scene as the hosts await the arrival of the Battalion. The main gates have been opened, the Māori tauā is kneeling, their leader Anania Amohau, a young Māori chief from Rotorua who is to perform the wero, is standing in front of the group, all the men kneeling have tewhatewha (battle axes) and are wearing piupiu. Parker explains the historical nature of the wero. The Māori Battalion march towards the marae, and an old woman performs a kāranga. The Master of Ceremonies [Kīngī Tahiwi] can be heard repeatedly telling people to step back. The band is heard arriving. The announcer describes the crowd trying to get a view of the procession. A young woman performs a dance with a taiaha. The two challengers, Amohau and Tamakehu, perform the wero. They throw their spears on the ground and run back to the taua, who perform a haka. The Māori Battalion are then seated at the marae, and the tangata whenua call ‘Haere mai!’
Part 6. Wiremu Parker describes the scene as the hosts perform 'Utaina', an ancient canoe hauling chant, known to the Māori as the ngeri, the typical chant of welcome to visitors. He describes the tangi, the wailing, lead by elderly women as an expression of grief for their fallen loved ones. Master of Ceremonies Kīngī Tahiwi is heard saying "I wish you photographers would pay more respect to the grief of our people and not take their photographs". The tangi continues. All the visitors are standing with bowed heads, tears running down the cheeks of those who have lost loved ones. The Master of Ceremonies, Mr. Kīngī Tahiwi of the Native Department, the interpreter for the House, greets the guests. Reverend Wi Huata introduces the Māori Battalion hymn, 'Au, e Ihu' [led by Bill Kepa.]
Part 7. The benediction and karakia is conducted by Rev. Wi Huata. Beside Wi Huata is Padre Manu Bennett. (An announcement is made for the mother of a child in Car 54026 to attend to the child who is crying.) Kingi Tāhiwi calls on Ihaia Puketapu, the first speaker on the marae, referred to in Māori as the tētēkura mōteatea. Ihaia Puketapu delivers his speech in te reo Māori; the kīnaki for the kōrero is a chant of mourning women. Wiremu Parker explains that the translation of the song into English would be difficult. The women follow this with a mourning waiata.
Part 8. The next speaker is Mr Kipa Roera (Ngāti Raukawa), who delivers his kōrero in te reo Māori. Some noise from the crowd can be heard, then the announcer describes a group of Ngāti Pōneke men and women filing onto the marae. The leader is Pirihira Heketa, MBE. The women are wearing shoulder capes and multi-coloured bodices, and the men are wearing piupiu. They perform the waiata, 'Haere mai te aroha nui.' The next kaikōrero is Toroa Ngātau[erua] (Taranaki) – mōteatea.
Part 9. Toroa Ngātauerua concludes the mōteatea. The next kaikōrero is Hepi Hoani Te Heuheu of Ngāti Tūwharetoa. His speech is followed by a haka by Ngāti Tūwharetoa people. There is cheering and clapping from the crowd afterwards. There are cries of ‘How do you like that, son!’ and ‘Kia ora, Hepi, kia ora!’ This is followed by a haka by Te Arawa people.
Part 10. The Master of Ceremonies calls upon Kanapu Haerehuka (Wainui-a-Rua, Ngāti Apa, Ratana). He speaks in te reo Māori and the announcer describes the scene as the speaker moves away from the microphone: The speaker is making gestures which the announcer explains are part of the oratory. The speaker has a taiaha in hand and is walking up and down the stage [away from the microphone, so cannot be heard easily.] He explains that Haerehuka is chief of the Wainui-a-Rua people of the Whanganui district and speaks in a style of oratory reminiscent of the old school. He typifies the dignity of old Māori rangatira. There are a few moments of indistinct noise, including a short haka. This is followed by a song, 'Pā mai te reo aroha,' sung by young people of Wainui-a-Rua. The next speaker is [Captain] Waipaina Awarau of Ngāti Porou. The kōrero is followed by a waiata - 'Haere mai e ngā iwi.'
Part 11. Brigadier Dittmer, the first commander of the Battalion, speaks in English. He says that while it is a happy day, it is also a sad day for the surviving men of the 28th Māori battalion as they think of their comrades left behind and expresses sorrow for the families of those who did not return, including some by name. It is a sad day for the members of the 28th as it is possibly the last day they will spend together as a battalion. However he is positive that the spirit of the 28th will live on in them forever and it gives him great pleasure to see them safely back in New Zealand. He feels a paternal pride in the battalion and looks on them as his own family. He wants them to know that all of the commanders are very proud of their achievements overseas, and of the achievements of all units of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. He wishes them luck and happiness for the future.
The Master of Ceremonies gives a roll call of former commanders; they stand up as they are called and the crowd applauds and cheers. He then introduces the next speaker, M.P. for the Western Māori electorate, Mr Matiu Ratana. There is a pause, and Tiaki Ōmana, M.P. for the Eastern Māori electorate, is introduced instead. He speaks first in English and thanks the organisers of the event for making it so successful. He acknowledges the achievements of the battalion and expresses grief for those who died in service. He then delivers the rest of his speech in te reo Māori.
Part 12. Mr [Tapihana] Paikea is introduced but he is not yet present. Instead, Lt. Col. K. W. Glasgow, the Returned Services Association representative is introduced as the next speaker. His speech is in English. He welcomes the Māori Battalion home, and says that they are known with respect and fear all over Europe. He pauses to remember those who gave their lives, carrying on the fighting tradition of their forefathers. He reiterates his welcome home, and wishes that the refining fire of war will make them all more fit to devote their energies to the common good. Applause. The Master of Ceremonies calls upon “the Honourable Native Minister to address the boys.”
The announcer introduces the Hon. H. G. R. Mason [Minister for Native Affairs.] As an aside, he says that is it a very hot day on the marae, and onlookers appear to be feeling the effects of the heat but are nevertheless enjoying themselves. Mr Mason speaks in English. He says the exploits of the Māori Battalion have been a source of special pride for him, and knows they have made themselves well-known in many countries.
The next speaker, Major Hon. C. F. Skinner, Minister of the Rehabilitation Department, is announced by the Master of Ceremonies. He welcomes the men home again, and says they have been following their exploits with pride. He assures them that the people of New Zealand are determined to offer then opportunities which they may have missed while overseas. He pauses in memory of “those splendid fellows who are no longer with us.”
Part 13. Mr T. Paikea, M. P. for the Northern electoral district, is the next kaikōrero. He apologises for being late, as he was meant to speak before Lt. Col. Glasgow. He delivers his speech in te reo Māori. This is followed by the song 'Whakarongo ki te reo nā o tātou mātua.'
The Master of Ceremonies then calls upon C. M. Bowden, M.P., acting on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition. As he takes the stand, the announcer notes that many of the Māori people congregated there have not seen each other for years, and greet each other “in the traditional Māori way by rubbing noses.” Mr Bowden speaks. He says it is a great honour to welcome the battalion back to their native land. He says they have played their part in the history of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. The Pioneer Battalion performed magnificently in the First World War, and upon the outbreak of war, the Māori leaders demanded to send another Māori battalion overseas. He says their progress was followed with admiration throughout the war. He welcomes them back, ready to devote themselves to peace. He congratulates them on their conduct, saying the honour of the Māori race was safe in their hands. He wishes them the same degree of success in whatever endeavours they undertake in the future.
The Minister for Defence, the Hon. F. Jones is called upon to speak next, and hand the men over to their people. He speaks in English. He says he has been inspired by the reception accorded to the Māori Battalion. He is glad to be present to welcome the battalion back to New Zealand, and feels privileged to hand them back to their people after the battalion was generously volunteered at the beginning of the war. He is proud of the success of the Māori Battalion overseas, and says all New Zealanders have rejoiced at the stories of their exploits. They lost over 680 men, plus 1,710 wounded. The total casualties, including missing and prisoners of war, have been 2,550.
Part 14. Hon F. Jones continues: 3,550 men went overseas as part of the Battalion; therefore 5 in 7 Māori were casualties. This shows the high standard of service and sacrifice that was made by the Māori Battalion. He thanks them for the work they have done, and wishes them well in the days to come. The Master of Ceremonies says he knows the boys are very hungry, but they only have two more speakers.
He calls upon the Hon. Eruera Tirikātene M. P., representing the Māori race at the Executive Council. Wiremu Parker comments that he is wearing a rare kiwi cloak. He addresses the crowd first in te reo Māori and then switches to English. He says it gives him great pleasure in knowing that this event has brought together Māori and Pākēha to pay tribute to the glorious dead, and to display appreciation for the achievements of New Zealand’s warriors both Māori and Pākēha. He pays tribute on behalf of the Māori people to their Pākēha friends who have paid such wonderful compliments and remarks of gratitude to the Māori battalion. It is gratifying to those who have lost their loved ones to hear such tributes being paid. He reads a short poem by Mrs. [Mesoules sp?] of St Albans in praise of the Māori Battalion. His speech is followed by a short haka.
Part 15. The Master of Ceremonies Kingi Tahiwi announces that several of the men have received telegrams "from their sweethearts". He reads out the recipients’ names and instructs them to come up and get them. He then calls upon the Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Walter Nash to speak. He delivers a rousing speech about the magnificent exploits of the Māori Battalion in various fields of war. He says the valour of the Māori Battalion is unsurpassed.
Part 16. Conclusion of the Hon. Walter Nash’s speech. The next to speak is Col. James Hēnare. He begins in English and then speaks in te reo Māori. The Master of Ceremonies then calls the audience to be upstanding and instigates the haka 'Ka mate, ka mate.' This is followed by the assembly singing the national anthem "God save the King.' He then calls for the members of the Māori Battalion to come into the dining room. The announcer signs off.
Reference number 5444
Media type AUDIO
Collection Sound Collection
Special events radio coverage
Nonfiction radio programs
Parker, Wiremu Leonard, 1914-1986, Commentator
Tahiwi, Kingi te Ahoaho, 1883-1948, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Huata, Wiremu Wi te Tau, 1917-1991, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Puketapu, Ihaia Porutu, 1887-1971, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Roera, Kipa Te Ahukaramū, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Heketa, Pirihira Raukura Waioeka, 1884-1947, Performer
Ngatauerua, Toroa, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Te Heuheu, Hepi Hoani, Tukino VII, 1919-1997, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Haerehuka, Te Kanapu, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Awarau, Waipaina Matehe, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Dittmer, George, 1893-1979, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Omana, Tiaki, 1891-1970 (b.1891, d.1970), Speaker/Kaikōrero
Glasgow, Keith William Rutherford, 1902-1958, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Mason, Henry Gerhardt Rex, 1885-1975, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Skinner, Clarence Farringdon, 1900-1962 (b.0900), Speaker/Kaikōrero
Paikea, Tapihana Paraire, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Bowden, Charles Moore, 1886-1972, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Jones, Frederick, 1884-1966, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Tirikatene, Eruera Tihema, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Nash, Walter, 1882-1968, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Henare, James Clendon Tau (b.1911, d.1989), Speaker/Kaikōrero
New Zealand Broadcasting Service (estab. 1946, closed 1962), Broadcaster
Date 23 Jan 1946