World War 2
Read a biography of Awatere, in English and te reo Māori, on the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography = Ngā Tāngata Taumata Rau website
This article appeared in the April 1990 NZ 28 Maori Battalion Golden Jubilee Reunion booklet:
9th C.O. - AWATERE, Arapeta, DSO, MC
Born at Waitotoki, Tuparoa, Poverty Bay on 25th April 1910. Pita Awatere joined the Battalion after it returned from Crete in 1941. He served in a number of different capacities - Bn I.O., Brigade L.O., 2 I/C 'C' Company, O.C. 'D' Company, O.C. 'C' Company, 2 I/C Bn and eventually Commanding Officer of the Maori Battalion July - August 1944 while Young was in hospital and then November 1944 - June 1945.
Pita's overall approach to warfare is well summarized in this extract from his citation for an Immediate DSO: "Lieutenant-Colonel Awatere's handling of his Battalion and his inspiring leadership were responsible for causing the enemy over one hundred casualties, while his personal bravery and calmness under fire was an example to all ranks".
This article appeared in the April 1976 NZ 28 Maori Battalion Tenth Reunion booklet:
For the late Colonel Arapeta Marukikitipua Pitapita Nuiaarangi Awatere, D.S.O. and Bar, M.C. 28th Maori Battalion, Second World War.
You have answered the last roll call for you on this earth. Your daughter, Donna, has sung "Ava Maria" for you. The "Last Post" and "Reveille" have sounded their message over you. Holy Church has pronounced its benediction upon you. The Supreme Commander has called you home to prepare you against the day when the "last trumpet" sounds. Chief, elder, soldier and warrior - farewell, farewell, farewell.
Upon the pillow that slips not, and upon the bed that moves not, you sleep the sleep the pre-ordained, the predestined and inevitable destiny of mortal man. The vast ocean of Kiwa speeds you in anguish as you cross once again the turbulent and troubled waters of Tangaroa. The Great Services - the Navy, the Army, the Air Force, the Mercantile Marine, the HokoWhitu-a-Tu, yea, the 28th Maori Battalion of which you were its Commander, lift their voices in lamentation as you wend your way to Hawaiiki-Nui, Hawaiki-roa, Hawaikipamamao to Te Hono-i-Wairua the resting place of departed souls. But ere you take flight, behold us your Comrades bowed in sorrow, grief and pain. Your sorrowing tribes, your weeping friends, and your grief stricken heath, hearth and home, your ever loving wife, children and grand-children to whom our hearts go out in loving sympathies and with whom we feel and mourn your loss.
We will see you no more! Ka tanuku! Ka tanuku! Ka tanuku koa te tihi a Hikurangi, ka mimiti ra koa nga wai a Waiapu. Te takere o te waka e, tikoki ra, tahuri ra. Te taea te uru o te kiato a te waka, ka totohu tonu, ka totohu tonu. Te keho a te marama ka whati ; ka whati koa taku kapu kotuku. He Huia ra koe no runga i a Horouta, i a Takitimu, i a Mataatua, i a Te Arawa, i a Tainui. Haere, haere, haere ra te mana o te whenua, te Kotuku-tu-rae, te Toka-tumoana, te Maire-puhanga-hau, te Toa, te Rangatira. Ka maunu te puru ka tapoki te waka ki raro - aha ka tapoki!
Kua hoki mai koe ki te "rua-ko-iwi" a, o Matua-tipuna, ki tou Ukaipo. Moe mai i rota i te uma a to kuia a Papatuanuku i te "urunga te toka, i te moenga te whakaarahia". Moemai! Moemai! Moe mail Moe mai e koro e I tau moenga roa Runga i te puke Mokemoke ai Ma te Atua koe e Tiaki Moe mai e koro i tau moenga ra.
Sung by Hori Bennett (nephew of Col. Sir Chas Te M. Bennett)