Aubrey Rota

Ingoa whānau
Ingoa tuatahi
Date of death
Place of death
Western Desert

World War 2

Tau Rangatū
Second Lieutenant
Wāhi noho
Pongakawa, New Zealand
Whanaunga tino tata i te wā o te kuhunga
Mrs K. Rota (mother), Matata, New Zealand
Ngā tuhinga

Second Lieutenant Rota's name is memorialised on the Te Matai Native School gates at Te Kura a Iwi o Tapuika at Te Matai in the Bay of Plenty.

Takupu (3)

Jeff Evans on Maori combat abilities (WWII)The old Maori weapon, the taiaha can be deadly when wielded by an expert. This was proved in a taiaha and rifle and bayonet duel at a small arms weapon training school at Maadi, the Middle East, in 1943.The school was an important centre in which soldiers of the 8th Army were given an intensive training course in every infantry weapon, from revolvers to bayonets. In this particular course there were Americans, Free French, English, New Zealanders, Cypriots, and Canadians. In one of the bayonet fighting sessions, Major Don Steward, a New Zealander, remarked to his hard-bitten instructors: “This is quite a weapon, I only know of one to beat it!” “What’s that?”Asked the instructor. “The Maori taiaha.”“What the hell is that?”“A fire-hardened wooden stave and fending spear, “replied Stewart. Derision and scorn followed this remark, which stung the Maori to the quick. As a result, he offered to prove his point. Immediately bets were offered at great odds that the man with a Maori weapon would be dead within seconds against an expert with a rifle-mounted bayonet.The Maori champion, Lieut. Aubrey Te Rama-Apakura Rota, luckily had one with him. Rota was warned that he would have to take full risk of being wounded or worse, and that the incident was to be officially regarded as an exercise in the combat school, where ‘accidents ‘were fairly frequent. There would be no holds barred on either side. Stripping off his tunic, the young Maori stood facing the grinning ‘modern soldier ‘in much the same way his forebears had faced the British redcoats a century before. The signal to start was given. The soldier lunged in and thrust in perfect precision, but each move was parried by the light-footed Maori who bided his time and stood on the defensive. Failing to penetrate the Maoris’ guard, the other soldier grew increasingly angry as thrust after thrust was tossed aside by the stout wooden weapon. Sometimes it was repelled with such violence that the European soldier was flung sideways. Finally, he crouched and charged in directly at the Maoris’ midriff. This was Rota’s chance. Grasping his weapon firmly, he sidestepped, tipped aside the blind thrust, and caught the lunging figure a smart uppercut in the stomach with the bladed end of the taiaha. In a flash he whirled the weapon about, to crash the business-end on top of his opponent’s skull. Down he went, to be out of action for some days in the camp hospital—another regrettable accident from the small arms school. The effect on those present was profound. Money changed hands at great odds, as the jubilant minority collected. The story was repeated with almost unbelievable astonishment throughout the Middle East.Te Ngako-o-Te-Rangi Te Tāwera

Hāere ki te Kāhui Ariki. Ka mau tonu ake te aroha mōu, mō ake, mō ake, mō ake tonu atu e....E koro i tūtaki au i tētahi kuia. He tamahine tēnei na tā Hemi Henare. E ai te kōrero he tino hoahoa kōrua. I tana hoki mai, i mau tonu a Tā Hemi i ngā kōrero mou ki tana whānau me te kī, ko koe tētahi o āna tino hoa. Ko te kōrero a tā Hemi ki tana whānau i mate koe i roto i āna ringaringa, nā te mea i riro i a koe te mata o te pū, kāre koia. I te kawe mate o te motu, i whakahokia katoatia mai ōu tāonga e tā Hemi. Kei te pakiwaitara tonu koe i tēnei rā. Tō Mokopunaxxxx