Nepia Mahuika embarked with the 10th Reinforcements as a 2nd Lieutenant, and later attained the rank of Captain.
This article appeared in the 29 March - 2 April 2002 NZ 28 Maori Battalion Reunion booklet.
Obituary - 65296 Nepia Mahuika
Nepia Mahuika died in Ngaruwahia, aged 87, on 4 February last year. Born at Whakawititira, near Tikitiki he was the eldest son of Hamana and Tangipo Hemoata Mahuika. After war broke out he trained as an officer and eventually got away with the 10th Reinforcements, his two younger brothers having gone ahead in the 5th and 6th.
As a leader of men he was much respected. In Italy he was a platoon commander in charge of 15 platoon. Tini Glover, remembers him as a gentle, dignified man who treated his men decently. "If we did something wrong, he would tell us softly, and not bully us. You have more respect for a man that speaks to you that way." Nepia took command of C Company on the outskirts of Faenza when Harry Mackey was wounded - hit by shrapnel from a shell as he was carrying a man whose leg had been blown off.
After the war Nepia married and began farming in the Tapuaeroa Valley, near Ruatoria. He also ran a taxi, a couple of trucks and occasionally drove the local road services bus. Later he and his family moved to Wainuiomata where he worked at the Gear Meat Works at Petone until it closed in 1972, followed by a stint at the wharves and eventually the Correspondence School in Wellington, teaching Maori.
Nepia's tangi was held at Tuhikaramea marae, at Templeview, and he lies in the RSA cemetery at Ngaruwahia. He is survived by his wife Manawanui nee Ormsby and their ten children.