Ngarimu VC investiture, part 19 - Te Hokowhitu a Tu


The Ngarimu Victoria Cross Investiture Meeting and Reception to His Excellency the Governor General, 6 October 1943

On 4 June 1943 news was broadcast world-wide that 2/Lt Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa Ngarimu had been awarded the Victoria Cross for his role in the attack on Point 209 at Tebaga Gap, Tunisia. It was the sixth VC to be awarded to a New Zealander in the war, and the first to a Maori soldier.

The public investiture ceremony where the Governor-General presented the award to Mr & Mrs Hamuera Ngarimu was held at Whakarua Park in Ruatoria, Ngarimu’s home town. At the time it was one of the largest and most fully documented Māori gatherings ever held.[1]  Despite the rain and mud, 7000 people attended the event, including the Prime Minister and other parliamentarians, Battalion members on furlough, Home Guardsmen and 1300 schoolchildren, who came from all parts of the country. Three hundred performers had been brought together from the Gisborne district alone. Te Whānau-ā-Apanui and Ngāti Porou, led by Sir Apirana Ngata hosted the event that featured five hours of entertainment.  Members of the National Film Unit, the official Government photographer - John Pascoe, and the press documented the event. Cameramen from the US Marine Corps also headed to Ruatoria to record the event.  Read more about the event here.

There were two booklets printed for the occassion:
1) Souvenir of the Ngarimu Victoria Cross Investiture Meeting (NSP)
2) Supplement to the Souvenir Programme (SSP)

This recording was made on the morning of the investiture at Whakarua Park.


Sir AT Ngata: This is another item by Tuini Ngawai. E te Hokowhitu-a-Tu. Kaati ra te hinga hinga noa. A great little piece sung to the air of “In the Mood.” A great favourite in the native schools and also outside, wherever it has been performed. 

Recording begins at Nga iwi nui e and then after great applause the song is performed a second time.

E te Hokowhitu-a-Tu! Kia kaha ra!
Kaati ra te hinga hinga ki raro ra
Ma nga whakaaro ki runga rawa ra
E arahi ki te ara e tika ai
Whirinaki, whirinaki tatou katoa
Kia kotahi ra

Solo : Ngarimu, aue
Nga iwi nui e.  E tangi nei e.

Nga marae e tu noa nei,
Nga maunga e tu noa nei,
Aue ra ! E tama ma !
Te mamae, te pouri e
I patu nei i ahau i na

Solo : Ngarimu, aue !
Anei o hoa e, e rurutu nei.

The noble band of Tu be strong!
And do not be downcast or pressed down
But let your thoughts be set on high,
That you may be guided aright.
Lean one upon the other
United all.

 O’ Ngarimu
The many tribes are bereft

The many maraes stand empty,
The mountains are lonesome too,
Alas! My sons!
The pain, the grief
That gnaws at my heart.

O’ Ngarimu
Here are your friends lamenting.


Verses sung together.

Site editors notes:

  • There is intermittent static throughout the audio

Sound file from Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright. To request a copy of the recording, contact Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero.  Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright.

Image reference
Alexander Turnbull Library
The Tokomaru Bay party led by Tuini Ngawai at the V.C. hui at Ruatoria in 1943 - photograph by Owen Johnson

Submitted by mbadmin on Mon, 22/04/2013 - 16:35

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