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Adrian Douglas and Boy Mason of Rotorua and Hawea Tomoana of Hastings serving with a Royal Air Force Bomber Squadron in the Western Desert send messages home.

Adrian Douglas:  Kia ora Rotorua, hello Mum, Dad, Herbie, Adelaide and family, also Betty, Marie and all our friends.  Last I heard of Wallace and Frankie they were both well and should be out here shortly.  I’ve seen Hako, Peter and Sam Hodge and most of the boys, but missed Turi and Basil.  Pat Farron and Trevor Griffiths are out here and OK.  I’ve received most of your letters Mum about Nino.  Boy and I are both well.  Arohanui Adrian.

Arch Curry:  And again to Rotorua from Boy Mason

Boy Mason:  Kia ora Rotorua, ka nui te wera hoki o tēnei kainga. 

Hello Father, Jo, Molly, Pita, Bob and family.  Hope you are all well.  I’ve met Hako and Turi out here in the Middle East, but missed Basil.  Adrian and I are both well and are looking forward to some more mail.  Have received most of your mail Jo.  Cheerio for now, arohanui Boy.

Arch Curry:  And last in this group of greetings form New Zealanders in the Middle East is from Hawea Tomoana of Hastings. 

Hawea Tomoana:  Tēnā ra koutou.  Hi there Hastings, Waipatu and Wairua.  This is Hawea speaking.  Hello Mum and Pop and everyone at home.  Have received your letters and glad to know the Halifax parcel arrived.  I’m in the pink though a little sunburnt.  Boy is well too.  How’s things on the grandchildren front.  I wish I could be home for the housewarming. Have not forgotten what home looks like. Cheerio folks. Chins up.

(Site editor's note: there is some static throughout the recording.)

Sound file from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, ref: 16159. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright.

During a Christmas Day broadcast from the Middle East in 1943 the Battalion sing 'Te ope tuatahi".

After being inspired by the Battalion's efforts at Gallipoli Sir Apirana Ngata composed the song.  It was also a means to inspire recruitment for the war effort.  During World War I Maori recruitment (as well as Pakeha) had waned.    

Listen to another version of the song sung by school girls in Gisborne in 1940.

Sound file from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, ref: 41339. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright.

New Zealand Broadcasting Unit commentator Archibald (Arch) Curry leads this broadcast marking the posthumous award of the Victory Cross to Lieutenant Te Moana nui a Kiwa Ngarimu. 

Curry was a member of the Mobile Broadcasting Unit which provided the people at home in New Zealand with news about the war.  Their broadcasts were varied and included recorded talks during the voyage from New Zealand, concerts and especially personal messages and war updates from members of all ranks of the 2NZEF. 

Transcript

The fearless courage of Moana Ngarimu of the Aitanga a Mate people, sub tribe of the Ngati Porou has earned for himself the personal honour of the highest military award and bestowed upon the whole Maori people the distinction of the first Victory Cross to a member of their Battalion.  The news is received here by the Maori Battalion, where I speak to you, with profound respect towards the memory of Ngarimu who died in the action on Point 209 in the Tebaga Gap.  The whole fighting there called for extreme resolution in one of the bitterest engagements the New Zealanders have experienced.  This infantry attack on the height dominating the ‘Hammer’ plains prepared the way for the combined breakthrough of armour and infantry under General Freyberg which broke the Marek position.  The Maori Battalion’s part in the initial assault is now especially marked by the singular bravery of this young soldier.  Lieutenant Ngarimu fought inGreeceand Crete and there as a Private showed something of the rare qualities of leadership which later inspired his conduct when he was commissioned inAfrica.  In one incident of the Greece-Crete campaign his platoon commander and NCOs all became casualties, immediately he assumed command and though wounded three times continued undaunted in the resolute manner which marked the gallant action at Tebaga.  This characteristic of purposeful determination was predominant in the superb conduct of Moana Ngarimu quoted in the citation which is one of the finest narratives of action and courage yet recorded.  The citation reads:

“Second Lieutenant Ngarimu commanded a platoon in an attack upon the vital hill feature Point 209.  He was given a task of attacking and capturing an under-feature forward of Point 209 itself and held in considerable strength by the enemy. He led his men with great dash and determination straight up the face of the hill, undeterred by the intense mortar and machine-gun fire, which was causing considerable casualties. Displaying courage and leadership of the highest order, he was himself first on the hill crest, personally annihilating in the process at least two enemy posts. In the face of such a determined attack the remainder of the enemy fled, but further advance was impossible as the reverse slope was swept by machine-gun fire from Point 209 itself.

Under cover of a most intense mortar barrage the enemy counter-attacked in an attempt to regain their dug-in positions.  Second Lieutenant Ngarimu ordered his men to stand to and engage the enemy man for man. This they did with such good effect that the attackers were mown down.  Second Lieutenant Ngarimu personally killing several.  During this encounter he was twice wounded, once by rifle fire in the shoulder and later by shrapnel in the leg, and though urged by both his company commander and battalion commander to go out of the line, he refused to do so, saying that he should stay a little while with his men.  Darkness found this officer and his depleted platoon lying on the rock face of the forward slope of the hill feature, with the enemy in a similar position on the reverse slope about twenty yards distant. Time and again throughout the night the enemy launched fierce attacks in an attempt to dislodge Ngarimu and his men, but each counter-attack was beaten off entirely by this officer’s inspired leadership.  During one of these counter-attacks the enemy, by using hand grenades, succeeded in piercing a certain part of the line. Without hesitation Ngarimu rushed to the threatened area, and those of the enemy he did not kill he drove back with stones and with his tommy-gun.

During another determined counter-attack by the enemy, part of his line broke. Calling out orders and encouragement, he went to his dislodged men, rallied them and led them in a fierce onslaught back into their old positions.  All through the night, between attacks, he and his men were heavily harassed by machine-gun and mortar fire, but Second Lieutenant Ngarimu watched his line very carefully, cheering his men on and inspiring them by his gallant personal conduct.   Morning found him still in possession of the hill feature but only he and two unwounded other ranks remained.  Reinforcements were sent up to him. In the morning the enemy again counter-attacked and it was during this attack that Second Lieutenant Ngarimu died.  He was killed on his feet defiantly facing the enemy with his tommy-gun at his hip and as he fell he came to rest almost on top of those of the enemy who had fallen to his gun just before he fell to theirs.  The hill feature that this officer had so gallantly defended was strewn with enemy dead and was a bold witness of his great courage and fortitude.”

Read the full citation.

Sound file from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, ref: 17965. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright.

Image crop from Alexander Turnbull Library.
Bull, George Robert, 1910-1966. Flight Sergeant A G Newman records message to be broadcast in New Zealand from the Italian Front, World War II - Photograph taken by George Bull. New Zealand. Department of Internal Affairs. War History Branch :Photographs relating to World War 1914-1918, World War 1939-1945, occupation of Japan, Korean War, and Malayan Emergency. Ref: DA-05602-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

See full image here


Captain Peta Awatere greets the Māori people in New Zealand and pays tribute to the late Second Lieutenant Te Moana nui a Kiwa Ngarimu, having received the news of Ngarimu’s posthumous award of the Victoria Cross for gallantry in the field.  This recording was originally transmitted to the BBC.

Transcript

He reo morehu no te Hokowhitu a Tumatauenga. E nga hapu, nga iwi, nga mana, nga reo, nga taumata korero o Aotearoa, Te Waipounamu, Wharekauri  tena koutou.  Tena koutou nga kaihautu o nga waka, nga kanohi ora o tatou tupuna, kua riro ke te po.  Tena koutou te herenga o nga tikanga o te mauri o ratou ma.  Tena koutou te tangi mai na ki o tatou parekura o nga pakanga nei me matou hoki e tangi atu nei ki nga morehu o te wa kainga na, kua moe.

Tenei o koutou uri i hinga toa ki nga hiwi o Kirihi, Kiriti, nga mania o Ihipa, nga tuawhenua o Ripia, o Tiripori, ki nga maunga teitei o Tunihia.  I hinga ratou i te wehi o te riri, te hikoi o te wai, i te whiu o te taiaha, i te kori a Tumatauenga.  Hinga atu he toa, ara mai ra he toa.  Tena koutou.

Tenei kia korero ake au ki te Tairawhiti.  Ki o matou matua o te rohe potae o te Tairawhiti tena koutou ia tatou tamariki kua hinga tata nei i Tunihia ara i a Te Moana nui a kiwa Ngarimu ratou ko ana tamariki.  He po, he ao, e kai ake i te aroha mo ratou kua mahue atu ra ki nga hiwi o Tunihia.  Otira, kei te haere atu a Wananga Te Ariki, he morehu kawea te kupu ki uta.  Kei runga kei a ia e iri ana te ahuatanga o matou katoa, te hunga i hinga, te hunga i ora, ko a matou korero, ko a matou tangi, kei a ia.  Oti ra kua paku ki nga topito e wha o te ao te wikitoria kua homai nei e te wa ki ta koutou tamaiti ki a Te Moananui a Kiwa Ngarimu. He tohu tenei ka whaaki te uri a nga tupuna nana te rakau nei.  Na ratou kei Kokai, kei Puputa, kei te tini ona pa i raro i te taumarumaru o te kaumatua na, o Hikurangi.  Otira he taonga tino nui rawa tenei kua riro nei i a ia, he atawhai ma te iwi, he honore hoki ki te iwi Maori katoa.  A, no te ahua tenei te rapopototanga, te hiatotanga o te rongo toa o te ropu Maori i turia ai e nga tamariki o te motu, te hoariri tenei wa roa.  Hamuera raua ko Maraea, Materoa Ngarimu, tena koutou i ta tatou tamaiti, ara i te tamati a te iwi Maori katoa. 

E Api tena hoki koe e pupuri mai na i te ahuatanga e tu ai te mahi nei.  Kei te kite atu koe i roto i nga tuatea, i nga hau pukeri o te wa. Ana, ia Kapene Taiapa na nga korero mo nga tamariki, a, kua hoatu e au kia Te Wananga Te Ariki paku korero nei ki a koe.  Kei te pai matou, a heoi ano ko te wa kainga te matea nuitia atu nei i na kua painga nei tenei ngakinga tuatahi, kia ora koutou katoa.

Sound file from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, ref: 17965. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright.

Image: Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: DA-04140
Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

Commander of 28th Maori Battalion, Lt-Col Kingi Areta Keiha (MC), pays tribute to 2/Lt Te Moana nui a Kiwa Ngarimu (VC).

Transcript

By the grace of God it is my most honoured privilege to speak for the late Second Lieutenant Moana nui a Kiwa Ngarimu whose epic and heroic action has been graciously acknowledged by his Majesty the King in the bestowal of the Victoria Cross.  To his father and mother and all his friends in New Zealand and to his comrades in arms no matter where they are I can in all faithfulness say of him no more gentlemanly soldier than he ever stood in the ranks of the Maori Battalion.  He rose through the ranks and won recognition through the sterling qualities of his own commendable good nature.  For 18 months he served as a private and fought in Greece and Crete.  But his outstanding conduct and devotion to duty brought him his just promotion. Today he lies on the Matmata hills in Tunisia beside his men who were defiant unto death.  All of them we honour and owe tribute. But greater still he has given his people, his own Maori race this most coveted decoration for the first time in all its history. We share the honour with all our Pakeha fellow soldiers of the New Zealand division and I have been made to understand that this award marks the second ever awarded to an officer of the New Zealand division either in this war or the Great War of 1914-1918.  He has gone on ahead of us, but his spirit survives and especially among all ranks of his Battalion, this spirit will remain a living inspiration.

Sound file from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, ref: 17965. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright.

Image from Nga Taonga a Nga Tama Toa Trust

This recording taken in 1942 is of a group of Māori patients from No. 2 New Zealand General Hospital in North Africa. 

Nurse Wiki Katene of Porirua (Ngāti Toa)and a group of patients from the Māori Battalion sing “Tama Ngākau Mārie”.  Wiki introduces the young men who offer greetings in Māori to different iwi, hapū and localities.  Some of the voices are hard to decipher, but the following soldiers, all wounded during the Alamein Campaign, have been identified:

  • Wiremu Pohe, Ngapuhi - Whangarei
  • Ngaone Tahere, Kaikohe - Ngati Tautahi
  • (?), Te Arawa - Ngati Pikiao
  • Pena Hohepa, Matata
  • Pita Hodge, Ngati Whakaue - Ohinemutu
  • Te Irimana (Paul) Waenga, Te Whānau-a-Apanui
  • (?) McClutchie, Ngati Porou - Wharekahika
  • Barney Kapuaroa, Turanganui
  • Possibly Richard Hale:Hauraki - Harataunga (Kennedy Bay)
  • Unidentified possibly Wharau or Heremia Houkamau(?) sends greetings on behalf of himself and Tame Makarati (aka Huna McClutchie) - Wharekahika (Hicks Bay)
  • Tame (Thomas) Karena, Ngati Kahungunu - Wairoa, Heretaunga
  • Kopu Heremia, Ngati Raukawa - Ohau
  • Lt. Sgt. Hira Parata, Ngati Toa - Porirua, Whakarongotai - Waikanae
  • Cpl Ripene Matoe, Ngati Ruanui
  • Hami (Hamuera) Ngaheke, Ngati Pikiahu-Waewae - Kakariki, Tokorangi

Sound file from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, ref: 17321. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright.

This recording of the carol ‘Silent Night’, is sung in English and Māori by a group of Māori Battalion patients from No. 2 New Zealand General Hospital in North Africa, 1942.  

The Māori is sung by Nurse Wiki Katene of Porirua (Ngāti Toa).  

Sound file from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, ref: 17321. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright.

Captain Pine Taiapa of Ngati Porou, coach of the Māori Battalion rugby team, speaks in Maori after the team's victory in the Freyberg Cup final against Divisional Signals in Egypt on 14th February 1943.

Site administrators note: there is static throughout the sound file.

Sound file from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, ref: 17595. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright.

Image from Nga Taonga a Nga Tama Toa Trust.

Lieutenant Sydney (Bully) Jackson, captain of the Māori Battalion rugby team, speaks after their victory in the Freyberg Cup final against the Divisional Signals in Egypt on 14th February 1943.

Site administrators note: there is static throughout sound file.

Sound file from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, ref: 17595. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright.

Image from Sydney (Bully) Jackson collection.  Courtesy of Gary Jackson.  No reproduction without permission.

The Māori Battalion with the 2NZEF recorded a Christmas programme from the Middle East on 15 October 1942. 

The speech is first given in Māori and can be heard here.  The orator has not been identified but could be Chaplain Captain Tunoa Wanoa or Chaplain Captain Wharetini Rangi.

Transcript

To our Maori people of the many tribes and to our remaining chiefs and leaders in Aotearoa and Waipounamu, greetings of love to you all.  Having in remembrance those of us who have made the supreme sacrifice in this war of the god Tumatauenga and those of our kith and kin who have passed away.  This is the Maori Battalion calling, calling loved ones at home, our parents, brothers and sisters, especially our mothers whom we have in our thoughts night and day.  Mother you are my inspiration and my hero.  To our wives and children a special message of faith, hope and charity, praying always for your perseverance in constancy and love.  Sir Apirana, the honourable Paikea and other Maori leaders in the house - greetings to you all.  We have faith in you for the future, and our innermost souls in us, long and yearn for home.  To Colonel Bertrand and officers and men of the second Maori Battalion we send you Christmas greetings of aroha, remembering Colonel Love, his brother officers and men who have made the supreme sacrifice.  To our father in god the bishop of Aotearoa we send to you all and the churches at home our Christmas greetings with thankful hearts for your affairs both of the Pakehas and the Maoris, for the throne of grace, for our blessing and for our preservation.  A Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you all. 

Sound file from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright.

The Māori Battalion with the 2NZEF recorded a Christmas programme from the Middle East on 15 October 1942. 

This speech is in Māori and the orator has not been identified but could be Chaplain Captain Tunoa Wanoa or Chaplain Captain Wharetini Rangi.

The speech is then repeated in English, listen to it here.

Transcript

Taku manawa e kakapa nei, e kakapa ana ki te whetu ki te marama ka taka kei te rua.  Katahi au ka kite i te he katahi au ka kite i te mate.  Mo taku tau kahurangi tena ka riro kei Paerau kei te huinga o te kahurangi e, ka oti atu e.

Ki nga iwi ki nga hapu, ki nga morehu rangatira e noho mai na i te wa kainga.  Tena koutou katoa i roto i te arohanui mo tatou aitua i hinga atu i konei i a Tumatuaenga me o tatou aitua taratara a whare i hinga mai i te kainga na.  Ko Te Hokowhitu a Tu tenei e mihi atu nei, e tangi atu nei, ki o matou matua, ki o matou whaea.  E kui ma ko koutou nga mea kaore e warewaretia ana i te ao i te po.  Kia koutou te arohanui rawa o matou me o matou hoa kua hinga atu nei i te pae o te riri.  Tena koe e te ukaipo.  A matou wahine, a matou tamariki, me nga mea hoki kua pania, mokai ma kei roto koutou i o matou whakaaro i nga wa katoa.  I runga i te whakapono, i te tumanako, i te aroha.  Kia mau ki te aroha, kia manawanui.

E te matua e Ta Apirana Ngata – tena koutou ko ou hoa, ko ou tamariki.  Paikea ma, kei te whakamau atu nga whakaaro kei a koutou mo nga ahuatanga mo matou.  Te wairua ia kei roto ia matou e koingo atu ana, e tangi atu ana ki te wa kainga na.  Kia Colonel Bertrand me ou apiha me to whanau Te Ope Tuarua a Tu.  E hoa ma, tena koutou katoa i roto i te aroha mo Colonel Love, me ona hoa, me ona tamariki kua mate i te mate o te toa, i te mate hoki a te rangatira.  E pa e te Pihopa o Aotearoa – tena koutou katoa a te iwi me nga hahi i roto i tera whanau a tatou Ariki a Ihu Karaiti.  He ngakau whakawhetai te mea nui kia matou mo nga inoi maha a te iwi Maori me te iwi Pakeha e piki ana ki te rangi ki te toro o nga o nga tapaengia katoa mo matou e tiakina, mo matou te manaaki.  Tenei, kia ora koutou katoa.

Sound file from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright.

The Māori Battalion with the 2NZEF recorded a Christmas programme from the Middle East on 15 October 1942. 

This song “Haere mai Tūhourangi” was sung for the occasion by members of the Māori Battalion.

Sound file from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright.