Lieutenant Colonel James Hēnare trained and embarked the 5th Māori Reinforcements in 1941 to join the war effort.
He was company commander of A and Headquarters companies. Later he was commanding officer of the Māori Battalion, leading them home at the end of 1945. Hēnare served with the Māori Battalion in North Africa - he was wounded at El Alamein and in the Italian campaigns. He was mentioned in dispatches, and received the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in 1946 for his conduct at the battle of Monte Cassino in 1944 and inspriational leadership in action in 1945. The citation noted his fearlessness and courage, singling out his company command at Cassino in February 1944 and inspirational leadership in action in 1945.
After the war his life was dedicated to public service, education and leadership of the Te Taitokerau and Māori people. He championed the fight for recognition of the Treaty of Waitangi throughout his life.
He was made a CBE in 1966 and a KBE in 1978, he received Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation Medal (1953) and Silver Jubilee Medal (1977), and an honorary LLD from the University of Auckland (1986).
Read more about Sir James Hēnare.
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