Maori Battalion performing a haka for the King of Greece

Members of B Company of the Māori Battalion performing a haka for the King of Greece in Helwan, Egypt.

See photo of C Company performing a haka at this occassion.


Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: DA-01231-F
Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

Submitted by mbadmin on

Comments (1)

VISIT TO TROOPS  -  THE KING OF GREECE -  NEW ZEALANDERS DECORATED  -  MAORIS ENTERTAIN(From the Official War Correspondent with the N.Z.E.F.) CAIRO, June 26.There was an impressive interlude in the reorganisation of the N.Z.E.F. when King George of Greece, accompanied by three Princes, three Princesses, and his retinue, visited the New Zealand camp.The main function was the decoration of Second Lieutenant W. H. Ryan and the 24 members of his platoon who acted as bodyguard to the Greek Royal party during their evacuation from Crete. King George was accompanied by the Crown Prince Paul, Prince George, Prince Peter, and the Princesses Fredrica, Catherine, and Marie. The military party included; Major-General Freyberg, Brigadier Puttick, Lieutenant-Colonel Ditmer, commanding the Maori Battalion, and Colonel Blunt, English officer in charge of the party that escorted the Greek King from Crete. After decorating Second Lieutenant Ryan and his platoon the Royal party inspected the Maori Battalion, who gave an entertainment of songs and hakas. Second Lieutenant Ryan was awarded the Greek decoration of the Cross of George I with Swords. The other ranks were awarded the Medal of George I with Swords. Second Lieutenant Ryan is an Auckland civil engineer who was educated at the Technical College and has received commissioned rank since his arrival in the Middle East. The ceremony was simple but impressive, and the first, of the kind in the N.Z.E.F. in the Middle East. The King first visited the battalion concerned. On his arrival he was escorted by a motor-cycle formation of the divisional provost company. The Royal Salute was given, the Greek National Anthem being played by the N.Z.E.F. Band. After the inspection the King pinned the medal on each recipient and then briefly addressed the troops. He said he was proud to see together again the platoon which accompanied him in Crete. He expressed the hope that the future experience of the soldiers present would be successful.Before the march past rousing cheers were given for King George.KING AT THE MAORI CAMP. The silence of a typical Egyptian summer evening was weirdly disturbed when the King and Royal party were welcomed to a desert camp by the lusty roars of Maori hakas. The Greek Royal party were deeply moved by the Maori demonstration and displayed profound interest in the odd spectacle of Natives from the Antipodes hurling bellicose chants across the sands of one of the most historical parts of the land of the Pyramids. The Royal Salute was given as the Royal party arrived, the Maoris drilling with their customary precision under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Ditmer. After the inspection the Maoris grounded arms and removed their headdress, and selected parties advanced in front of the battalion. They performed with 'a vigour in no way affected by the heat of Egypt. After singing Haere Ra the whole battalion joined in the singing of the Maori Battalion song, conducted by the composer, a corporal. The Maoris enjoyed the spectacle of the Greek Princesses moving close up to the corporal with a movie camera and shooting him as he conducted the singing. The King was given rousing cheers before his departure. 'Visit to Troops - The King of Greece'. The Evening Post,  28 June 1941.  URL: