Major McCready proposes the toast in honour of the RSA and the 2NZEF at the reunion of ex-service people at Uepohatu Marae in 1947. His toast is prefaced by Sir Apirana Ngata discussing the raising of the flag the following morning.
The marae hosted events held on the 12th and 13th of September that included cultural competitions with local school children and the opening of the Uepohatu War Memorial Hall. The hall was built to commemorate East Coast soldiers who died during the two World Wars.
A reunion of ex-service people (including members of the Maori Battalion) was also held.
At the Investiture held on the second day, seventeen decorations were presented to servicemen and women who had served abroad and on the home front.
The gathering was an important one. attended by thousands including the Prime Minister Peter Fraser, the Leader of the Opposition Sidney Holland and other members of Parliament. Sir Bernard Freyberg, the Governor General opened the hall and unveiled two memorial tablets inside.
Apirana Ngata: For everybody’s pleasure on behalf of the Whakarua Park Board and the Whakarua Park Board represents the settlers, Pakeha and Maori of this district in accepting the gift of this flag. At six o’clock tomorrow, at Reveille, the ceremony of raising the flag will be carried out, quietly, it’s a bit early. And this flag will commence flying on a flag pole given by the people of the Mangapopo Valley, standing out there. So tomorrow morning is the dedication of the flag and the flagpole of which we will fly – kia ora tatau.
Lieutenant-Colonel Awatere: Ladies and gentlemen the next toast is to the RSA and the 2nd NZEF and I have much pleasure in calling upon Major McCready to propose that honourable toast. Ladies and gentlemen Major McCready.
Major McCready: (?) Mr Chairman, Your Excellencies, the Right Honourable Prime Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen. I’m very proud indeed to have this honour proposing the toast to the Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force and the Returned Services Association. I do not intend referring to the exploits of the Second NZEF, or in particular the Second NZ Div. As I know very well that most of you have taken part in those exploits. Those of you who haven’t have read of those exploits and if there are any gaps then you’ve heard so many stories about those exploits I think they would adequately fill those gaps.
But I do want to say on this occasion, that we of the Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force are very proud, we are very proud of the honour and privilege of serving with that Force. And that we are very fortunate that we had Your Excellency Sir as our leader and our commander. With regard to the RSA let me say, that here again we have an organisation of which it is our privilege to belong. The RSA is our Association and it is the only Association in this country and is exclusive to us as ex-servicemen. And it is also one, which is our responsibility to keep going in order that we may continue the good work of those who proceeded us. And to have a strong Force to help those comrade in arms who need help now and who will need help in the future. We are fortunate again that our fathers’ built up this organisation and it is now our duty and our heritage to continue the traditions of that organisation.
And so ladies and gentlemen, I’ll ask you please to rise and drink to the toast of the RSA and the 2NZEF. The RSA and the 2NZEF.
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.
Image: Crop of programme from the Special Reunion of ex-service personnel. See full image.
National Library of New Zealand
005 - Papers re Uepohatu hall and a reunion, 1947
Reference Number: MS-Papers-6919-0163. Sir Apirana Turupa Ngata Collection, 1874-1950 : Papers (MS-Group-0941)