Wiremu Tuakana Ngata writes to his father Sir Apirana Ngata from training camp at Ohaeawai.
2nd Maori Battalion Remuera Rd Ohaeawai 2/6/42Ki a Papa,E Koro tena ra korua ko Te Riringi me aku matua a me te iwi nui e noho mai na i te kainga. Ka nui to matou ora e noho atu nei i roto o Ngapuhi. Kei te pai te Wiwi a kua tatu o ratou whakaaro. Ka kotahi wiki maua ko Nopera ki “C” Coy a kua whakahokia mai hoki a Jackie Baker. Kei te ngaro ke a Pat Smyth, ko ia hoki te Acting O.C. i hoki ki te whakatikatika i ana take a ka mutu ka haere a ia ki Trentham Army School raua ko Wattie Barclay mo tetahi rua wiki, a i a ia e ngaro atu ana ko au te acting Coy Comdr. Ko taku tino mahi i enei ra he whakatikatika haere i nga platoons kia whaiti o Tikitiki tamariki ki te platoon a o Ruatoria ki tetahi platoon a kapi noa nga platoon e wha. Ko o Te Whanau-a-Apanui tamariki kei te whakawhitia ki te D Coy kei reira hoki te tokomahatanga o ratou a ko o Te Wairoa e whakawhitia ana ki B Coy a ka whaiti o Ngatiporou ki “C” Coy. Ko nga rohe o nga platoons – Ruatoria (Hiruharama – Waiapu – Te Puia) Tikitiki (Rangitukia – Waiomatatini – Tikapa – Kakariki) Te Araroa (Horoera – Hicks Bay) Tokomaru (Tolaga – Whangara – Gisborne). Kia oti te mahi ka tuku atu ai au i nga rarangi ingoa a me nga N.C.Os. Kua whiwhi stripe a Api L/Cpl a kua rua o W. Hogan.Kua tae noa mai to pukapuka a me te takai razor blades a he nui tonu no te mahi i kore ai e tuhi wawe atu. I kite au i to pukapuka ki a Panapa.Ka nui te ora o te Wiwi i te kai, he hangi rano i nga Ratapu a he poaka te miti – ko ta te Army nation 12 ozs per man – apiti atu ki te whakaaro a te Bn platoon fund – perhaps another 12 ozs per man – e rua rawa nga kainga miti i te Ratapu ka pau ai. He watakirihi te kinaki e kaore hoki i ko atu te kaenga. Nga puruni he apple pie, he steamed pudding a i nga Ratapu hoko kirimi ai a “C” Coy i puta mai tenei i ta ratou Coy Fund – na te hokohoko pounamu noa i timata tenei moni. Ko nga profit o te Camp Putenes?? e riro ana i nga Coys i tena marama i tena marama hei Coy funds. E toru nga po hikitia i te wiki a ko te hawhe o nga peopiko e riro ana i te Bn a ko tetahi hawhe i te tangata nana te mihini.I hinga a “C” Coy i te tima o H.G. Coy – 3 -0 a katahi ano a “6” ka hinga – ako te hawhe o te H.G tima no te Nati. Kaore hea e riro mai nga hu?Kei te whakatutu matou mo te haere i waenga parae mo te kotahi wiki – Commando Operation. Ka haere i tenei haere kotahi ano te ra i roto i nga ra e whangai a i muri atu i tena ma tena a ia e kuhu atu he 2/6 i te ra te moni whangai e whakawhiwhi ana ki ia tangata ki ia tangata.I haere maua ko Jackie ki te titiro haere i te whenua hei haerenga mo “C” Coy i te Ratapu a i tainahi nei. I tirohia haeretia e maua nga wahi hei moenga a nga wahi hoki hei hokonga kai mai. Ko ta matou haere tenei. I te ra tuatahi-Route March to Rangiahua 15 ½ miles steep in Hall – Meat supply at Rangiahua slaughter house.2nd Day: Cross Country through bush & scub to Utukura– lunch – W. Kaihe acting as fowl collecting agent – offered to pay but payment referred3rd Day: Cross Country – over hills rough country approx. 10 miles to Taheke – stay at meeting house – Ruki Birchie arranging about meat etc – Rest for a day – proposed programme – give Taheke Valley Home Guard demonstration of drill etc – they in turn will feed & entertain us.5th Day: Cross Country to Otana – sleep in meeting house – Hira Rogers arranging re supplies6th Day: Cross Country to Kaikohe – sleep – Eru Pou agent re billet7th Day: Move back to Camp. Approx. distance 70 miles. He haere pai tenei a ngawari atu mo te taha kai a whare moe. Te ahua me whakahangai to haere mai penei mo te wa e haere ai matou i tenei haere a hei Kaikohe tatou tutaki ai. Maku e waea atu te ra e haere ai matou.Ka nui te makariri me te ua a te marangai – ngaro ana te tangata ki ro paruparu. Takitahi nei nga mea kei te pangia e te maremare.Kei te hoki atu pea a Jackie Baker ki te kaenga na a tera wiki.Eka auatu te po a kei te haere matou ki runga i te maunga haere ai apopo. Mea ake nei ka hangaia he whare rakau mo matou – P.W.D. huts. Tokowha ki roto I te whare kotahi.Kia ahua watea ake ka tuhi atu ai ano. Hei kona ra mo tenei wa.Arohanui Heoi Na to tamaiti arohaNa Tuakana
2nd Maori Battalion Remuera Rd Ohaeawai 2/6/42To Father,Sir, I greet you and Te Riringi both, I also greet my elders and my people in our tribal area. We are very well living among Ngapuhi. Ngati Porou are well and settled. Nobby (TeKawa) and I have spent a week with C Coy. And Jackie Baker has been transferred back to us. Pat Smyth, who was Acting O.C. is no longer with us, he went away to sort things out then he and Wattie Barclay went to the Trentham Army School for two weeks. While they were away I was acting Coy Comdr. My main job during that time was to sort out the platoons so that soldiers from Tikitiki were placed in one platoon and those from Ruatoria in another, until the four platoons were organised. Those from Te Whanau-a-Apanui were shifted to D Coy because that was where most of that iwi were posted. Those of Te Wairoa transferred to B Coy and Ngati Porou made up “C” Coy. The platoon districts were – Ruatoria (Hiruharama – Waiapu – Te Puia) Tikitiki (Rangitukia – Waiomatatini – Tikapa – Kakariki) Te Araroa (Horoera – Hicks Bay) Tokomaru (Tolaga – Whangara – Gisborne). When the transfers are completed I’ll send you a list of names showing the N.C.Os. Api has one stripe L/Cpl and Bill Hogan has two.Your letter and parcel of razor blades. We have been very busy and consequently unable to write earlier. I have read your letter to PanapaNgati Porou is doing very well as far as food goes, they even have hangi on Sundays, with pork as the staple. The Army ration is 12oz per man, add to that perhaps another 12 ozs from the Bn platoon fund, it takes two meals on Sunday to finish it. With the addition ofWatercress, you wouldn’t get any better at home. The deserts are apple pie and steamed pudding on Sundays and “C” Coy buys cream out of their Coy Fund. This money was started by collecting bottles. The profits from the camp picture evenings is shared among the Coys, each taking a share. There are three picture evenings during the week, half the takings goes to the Bn and a half to the man who owns the projector.“C” Company were defeated 3 – 0 by H.G. Coy and finally “6” was beaten – though half of the H.G. team was Ngati Porou. They probably couldn’t afford the boots?We are preparing to go out into the district for a week – Commando Operation. We go out with one days supply of food. After that, it’s each man for himself, however each man will receive 2/6 per day.Jackie and I went out on Sunday and yesterday to recconoitre the area where “C” Coy was to be sent.We inspected the places where they might sleep and where they might buy food. This was the plan.1st day: - Route March to Rangiahua 15 ½ miles steep in Hall – Meat supply at Rangiahua slaughter house.2nd Day: Cross Country through bush & scrub to Utukura – lunch – W. Kaihe acting as fowl collecting agent – offered to pay but payment deferred3rd Day: Cross Country – over hills rough country approx. 10 miles to Taheke – stay at meeting house – Ruki Birchie arranging about meat etc – Rest for a day – proposed programme – give Taheke Valley Home Guard demonstration of drill etc – they in turn will feed & entertain us.(No fourth day!)5th Day: Cross Country to Otana – sleep in meeting house – Hira Rogers arranging re supplies6th Day: Cross Country to Kaikohe – sleep – Eru Pou agent re billet7th Day: Move back to Camp. Approx. distance 70 miles.This was a good experience and it was easy to find food and a place to sleep. Perhaps you might want to plan your trip to coincide with our excercise, we could meet in Kaikohe. I’ll ring you the day we depart.It is very cold and the rain is pelting down-we are lost in mud. Only a few have colds.I think Jackie Baker may be on a home visit next week.After tonight we will be on the hills tomorrow. We will have little time to build plank houses for ourselves – P.W.D. huts. Four to each hut.When things ease up I will write again. I leave you for this time.Much love from your loving son,Tuakana
Published with the permission of the Ngata familyEnglish translation by Whairiri NgataAlexander Turnbull LibraryMS-Papers-6919-0787Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use.
 The original sentence included the name 'Harold Carr' which appears to be out of context. It has been removed to aid better translation. The original sentence read thus: "Kua tae noa mai to pukapuka a me te takai razor blades a Harold Carr he nui tonu no te mahi i kore ai e tuhi wawe atu".