AUSTRALASIAN GAZETTE 451 [EXCERPT] MĀORI CONTINGENT HOME

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This film is an extract from the AUSTRALASIAN GAZETTE newsreel and shows members of the Māori Pioneer Battalion standing on the deck of the SS Westmoreland at the end of its journey to New Zealand, as well as parts of the welcome ceremony that was held for them in the Auckland Domain.

He whakaahua o te haka pōwhiri i te hokinga mai o ngā hōia o Te Hoko-Whitu-ā-Tū mai i te pakanga tuatahi o te Ao.

The Westmoreland berthed at 9am on Sunday 6 April 1919, bringing the only unit, apart from the Tunnelling Company, which would return to New Zealand at the end of World War One as a complete unit (the others returned by enlistment drafts). The voyage from Liverpool had taken thirty-six days and it was met by three bands and an official reception party while all the ships in the harbour sounded their sirens and a salute rang out from the Devonport guns. A ceremony was held later that day at the Auckland Domain and the “Auckland Weekly News” reported that:

“The native welcome to the Māori Battalion at the Domain on Sunday was a most spectacular and interesting ceremony, being carried out in time-honoured manner, with all tradition fully maintained. It was the greatest Māori ceremony of its kind held since the royal visit to Rotorua in 1901. Representatives from every tribe in New Zealand were waiting there to greet the returning braves. Grouped in picturesque native fashion were the welcoming parties of Arawa and Mataatua tribes, the Ngāpuhi, Maniapoto, Waikato, and Ngāti Whātua, with chiefs and chieftainesses of high rank at their head.” (“The Māori Battalion”, Auckland Weekly News, 10 April 1919, p.17)

Intertitle: “MĀORI CONTINGENT HOME. Welcome Home to the Māori Pioneer Battalion from the front.”
Members of the Māori Pioneer Battalion stand on the deck of the SS Westmoreland in uniform, wearing lemon squeezer hats with the Pioneer Battalion badge, leaning over the rail as they prepare to disembark, smiling and waving to the camera.

Intertitle: “In the domain, Māori Tribes give Haka of welcome.”
Men perform a haka during the pōwhiri; most are brandishing tewhatewha. Some elders at the side of the group are wearing korowai and one is holding a kotiate. Mita Taupopoki in his distinctive headdress can be identified to the left of screen among the elders.

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Year 1919

Reference number F29570

Collection Film and Video Collection

Media type Moving Image

Series AUSTRALASIAN GAZETTE

Place of Production AUSTRALIA

Genre Newsreel

Duration 0:01:14

Production company Australasian Gazette

Taonga Māori Collection Yes

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