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Kia maharatia te Rōpū Rua Tekau mā Waru / Remembering the 28th Māori Battalion

Maori  Battalion

The Māori Battalion volunteered two days after the Second World War began and remained voluntary throughout. This was an unusual achievement. More than 7,000 Māori soldiers fought with distinction overseas but suffered a terrible casualty rate of five in seven. To honour their service, this week we are screening these two films along with Beyond the Battalion (2017). On 23 January we will also be launching an online exhibition – look for it on the Home Page of our website.

Weekly Review 232: Māori Battalion Returns, 1946 (11 mins)

Producer: Stanhope Andrews
Camera: Stan Wemyss, Roger Mirams, John Mallitte
Commentary: Russell Reid, Rex Walden

He rekoata mō te hokinga mai o te Rōpū Rua Tekau mā Waru mai i ngā papa pakanga i te rā rua tekau mā toru o Kohitātea, te tau 1946 ki te wāpu o Aotea kei Pōneke. I muri ake o te haka pōwhiri ka haere rātou ki te hākari. Kātahi ka hokia rātou ki ōu rātou kāinga huri noa i te motu.

On 23 January 1946, the 28th Māori Battalion returned to New Zealand on board the Dominion Monarch. A pōwhiri for the men is held on Aotea Quay, a marae for the occasion. Acting Prime Minister, Mr Walter Nash, Members of Parliament, and former commanders of the Battalion were present. Ngāti Pōneke performed, haka, the poi and action songs during the happy occasion. One of the soldiers who did not return was Gunner Jack Seymour. His memorial stone was unveiled at Kūkū Ōhau, between Ōtaki and Levin. At Tūrangawaewae marae a pōwhiri for soldiers returning home to Tainui was held.

Screening with:

Sons of Tu-Mata-Uenga, 1979 (48 mins)

Director: Michael Havas
Producer: Peter-Christian Fueter

With: Padre Wi Te Tau Huata (Ngāti Kahungunu, Rongomaiwahine), Hūhana “Bubbles” Mihinui nee Sewell (Tūhourangi, Te Arawa), Major Ben Porter (Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa), Sgt Bully Jackson (Ngāti Porou), Father Hēnare Tate (Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi), Les Sciascia (Ngāti Kahungunu, Italian), Muru Walters (Te Rarawa)

More than 30 years after their return home Veterans of the 28th Māori Battalion undertake a pilgrimage to the battlefields of WWII visiting Greece, Crete, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Tunis, Italy and England. The documentary follows their journey as the veterans recall their feelings and experiences.