Sir Apirana Ngata introduces the Ngarimu VC Scholarship to the crowd present at the investiture ceremony at Ruatoria in 1943.
(Site editors note: Sound levels are uneven - some parts are very loud and includes wind and static)
Ngarimu Victoria Cross Investiture
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 (6 October 1943) 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. He had only just lost his seat to Labour's Jack Ormond (Tieki Omana) 12 days earlier, ending a 38-year parliamentary career. 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.
Sir AT Ngata: Kia ora Hiki (?), kia ora, kite atu, na o hine i whakaatu.
Now the next one if you would refer to your programmes, the white programme, the white souvenir programme item 11 and 12 are combined now. The Matatua Ngaroma canoes are combined in doing their item. Now before their item is given I want to say something about the Ngarimu and 28 Maori Battalion Scholarship Fund. The suggestion that the award of honours to the Maori Battalion, members of the Maori Battalion particularly the Victoria Cross should be commemorated in a worthwhile way was made by a European resident of this district at Hiruharama on the 13th day of June. That has since been taken up and before this meeting was held, taking together contributions made by schools that came to hand then. The scholarship funds in this district, has reached 3850 pounds.
The amount we are after is 7500 pounds. This does not contain some very substantial contributions on the way from our tribes in what is known as the Eastern Maori district - Hawkes Bay, Wairoa and those places. They are the contributions of the peoples in what is known as the Horouta district between Muriwai on the South and Torere in the Bay of Plenty. They have put up nearly 4000 pounds. I want to say in regard to this fund, it’s nationwide in its character so far as the Maoris are concerned. It is open to every child, of every tribe in New Zealand. It is a matter for the education department to advise the board of trustees of this fund when that board is set up - as to the scope, the terms and the conditions of the scholarships. They are being invested in government stock. Already over 2000 pounds are invested in war loans. The legislation will be necessary to establish the scholarship fund and to set up a board of trustees. Representing Ngati Porou, I have the suggestion to make that the Minister of Education should ex-officio be chairman of the board of trustees. But it may be found advisable later and certainly appropriate to have a board something like the Waitangi board of trustees with the Governor General of the day as the chairman of the board. That is a matter for the Government to consider.
“Small crowd applause”
We have, I won’t say a promise Mr Fraser, but we have, should I say an indication from a very prominent member of the present cabinet that the Government will give serious consideration to the subsidising of contributions by the Maori tribes and Pakeha throughout New Zealand of pound for pound up to 7500 pounds.
Mr Fraser: I said I'd recommend it.
Sir AT Ngata: Ah, Mr Fraser tells me that he’d recommend it. Now that goes beyond a mere suggestion. Homai te pakipaki.
I have further the assurance of the Prime Minister that after this meeting, in order to make the appeal as wide as possible and affect all tribes here, that the Maori War Effort Organisation shall take it up in all its branches, except, except the districts that have already made their contributions. Now I want to offer one further suggestion, although the scholarship is available for all Maori children of all Maori tribes, I think they should be linked up with some knowledge of the Maori language and in the higher reaches when you get to secondary education there should be some concentration on features of Maori culture, anthropology and so on.
I think this is a magnificent opportunity Mr Fraser and members of parliament present here, to make of the efforts of the Maori Battalion and the awards they have gained in the front line to build up a fund for the education, up to date education, of members of the Maori race.
Kia ora koutou nga iwi nei. Kei te mohio koutou mo tenei hui. Taku tamaiti e Ti, taku mokopuna Tapihana Paikea, tera aku tamariki ko Tokouru kare i konei. Mehemea kei konei taku tamaiti a Tieki Omana, kia ora koe, haere mai. Haere mai ki to taua tuunga. Ma koutou a tatou mahi e whakatutuki. Ko te taha ki nga iwi o te motu, karekau he panui tu i tae atu engari ma runga atu i nga mema Paremata te pohiri ki a ratou kia tae mai ki te hui nei. Na reira, i waiho ai hei konei koutou ka rongo, he penei tetahi o nga kaupapa awhina i ta tatou Scholarship Fund hei painga mo a tatau tamariki puta noa nga motu e rua. Na reira, kia ora koutou.
Soundfile 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.
Apirana Turupa Ngata. Ref: 1/4-021044-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.