Lt-Col Reta Keiha pays tribute to Ngarimu


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


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

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