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. 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.
Reweti Kohere: Your Excellency the Governor General, following Mrs Reedy, I wish on behalf of the northern sub-tribes of the Ngati Porou tribe to extend to you a hardy welcome to this our territory.
Sir AT Ngata: Now will the Gisborne people to come on. Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki, Rongowhakaata, Ngati Oneone, Ngati Konohi,
Reweti Kohere: We are very glad that you’ve been able to come here at our invitation to personally bestow upon Lt Moana Ngarimu’s father the Victoria Cross. It is not for me, a Maori, to extol the exploits of the Maori Battalion and member. I leave that to the white people. The fame of the Maori Battalion as well as the fame of the New Zealand Division has gone forth throughout the world. Welcome to you Prime Minister of New and you fellow ministers who may be present and also welcome to you Mr Holland the leader of the opposition. Welcome to all the members of both houses of the legislature and this makes this occasion a unique one also as we have, as the Prime Minister has pointed out, representatives of all those old, allied nations.
Haere mai e te Maori Battalion. Tena koutou mo era o koutou e tiraha mai ra i te pae o te pakanga. Tena koutou i era o koutou i mahue atu ra ki roto i te ringaringa o te hoariri. Kua paku o koutou rongo katoa ki nga wahi o te ao. Kati, ahakoa nui to koutou toa, nui to koutou whakahara, kua kite au ka mutu nga hoia ngakau humarie ko koutou.
Haere mai, haere mai e nga iwi maori o Aotearoa. Te Ika-a-Maui puta atu ki te Waipounamu. Huihui mai tatau katoa ki tenei ra nui whakaharahara ki te whakamaua ki tetahi o tatau i te tohu nui o tenei mea o te hoia the VC me era atu tohu hoki. Haere mai i runga i te karanga a Ngati Porou. Haere mai i runga i te karanga a Apirana Ngata. Haere mai koutou kia rite i a Apirana. Hei kitenga whakamutunga pea mo etahi o koutou te tangata nana i tuitiui nana i whakakotahi nga iwi Maori katoa o enei moutere.
Ina koa a ia, e tuitui nei, e whakakotahi nei i a taua. E penei ana au na, ka tau nei, "(te) tangata nei ki raro kia okioki ranei e mau tonu ranei tana mahi ki te haere ki nga wahi katoa. Te ingoa tika mo tera tangata he kupu pakeha, anei te kupu na “perpetual motion.”.
Ki taku mohio tera tera tangata he mataku to(nu). Kati, haere mai kia kite i a ia ki te manaki tona karanga, kia ora tatau katoa.
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.
Alexander Turnbull Library S. P. Andrew Collection (PAColl-3739)
Further information and copies of this image may be obtained from the Library through its 'Timeframes' website, http://timeframes.natlib.govt.nz. Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa must be obtained before any reuse of this image.