Rawhiti Ihaka

Ingoa whānau
Ingoa tuatahi

World War 2

Tau Rangatū
Temporary Staff Sergeant
Wāhi noho
Te Kao, North Auckland, New Zealand
Whanaunga tino tata i te wā o te kuhunga
Mrs P. Ihaka (mother), Te Kao, North Auckland, New Zealand
Ngā tuhinga
Brothers' Reweti and Riki also served in the Battalion.  Reweti died on 2 November 1942 during the Libyan campaign.

Takupu (3)

Affectionately referred to by one and all as uncle Ra. His dodgy eyesight always gave me concerns as to how he gained entry into 28 Bn. His eyesight wasn't too hot. I suspect, that during the physical examination, when asked by the specialist to 'change eyes' he kept the card over the same eye but only changed the card from one hand to the other. During his time POW term his captors one day noticed he was doodling with calculi. To their astonishment (I guess) they found that this was one smart Maori who loved Shakespeare and the Sciences including Mathematics. Rawhiti was honoured by his German captors by their presenting him with a parchment written in the Germanic style recognising his mathematic and scientific aptitudes. After the war Rawhiti attended Auckland University where he became the first Maori to be capped in the disciplines of Science and Mathematics. He was a teacher at St Stephens where he was nicknamed 'Shack' a nick name that stuck to all latter students from the clan Ihaka. His nephew now deceased Rawhiti Manuera was named after Rawhiti Ihaka and was the RSM of 161 Battery RNZA in Viet Nam.

Just a small adjustment. Dad attended The University of New Zealand. I believe this is now The University of Otago. Thank you, anyway, e Kingi mo nga kupu mahana i tukuna e koe. His graduation is recorded on Page 173, List of Graduates, 1870-1961.

Dad and I visited the Rotorua RSA as guests of my then father-in-law Jack Toroa. During the course of introductions a number of locals began arguing about Dad's credentials. Many suggesting he was never involved in the War because of his caste eye. Arguments raged for a good many jugs until a new arrival to the group sat with Dad and began talking to him about his skills in training in the use and maintenance of the Lewis machine gun. It was as though a light came on; "Ko koe tena?" "Was that you?" Then the jokes started. "How could you possibly see with those eyes?" "How did you pass the medical examinations?" "I still don't believe you" And so they continued. All in all, an enjoyable day turned into a frenetic evening with much laughter.