Map showing Battalion Company boundaries

The Māori Battalion's four rifle companies were organised along tribal lines, partly following the boundaries of the four Māori parliamentary electorates. Each company had its own nickname, reflecting the history and character of its main recruiting area:

  • A Company, drawn from Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whātua and other northern iwi, was known as the Gum Diggers (Ngā Kiri Kapia) due to the long history of kauri gum digging in the north.
  • B Company, centred on Te Arawa and the Mataatua tribes, was the Penny Divers (Ngā Ruku Kapa) - a reference to the practice of diving for coins to entertain tourists in the Rotorua thermal region.
  • C Company, drawn from the Tairāwhiti/East Coast region, was the Cowboys (Ngā Kaupoi), because of the common use of horses for transport in that area.
  • D Company, which covered the whole of the South Island and the remainder of the North Island, including Waikato, Taranaki, Manawatū and Wairarapa, was known as the Foreign Legion or Ngāti Walkabout.
  • Headquarters (HQ) Company drew its personnel from all over Māoridom. Its diverse origins and roles earned it the name Odds and Sods.
Monty Soutar, Nga Tama Toa - The Price of Citizenship: C Company 28 (Maori) Battalion 1939-1945, David Bateman, Auckland, 2008 p.44 - based on an original map from J.F. Cody, 28 (Maori) Battalion, War History Branch, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, 1956, p.6
Submitted by mbadmin on

Comments (6)

Ka pai its so awesome to be reading all this information that is shared with all the moko KA_moko

My grandfather was in D company. I had a little laugh when I saw they were called Ngati Walkabout.

There is so much to learn about our Elders who when to war, your Map is so wonderful and healing thank you.

I am planning on visiting Moana's grave site this May. Can anyone help me with any information. I understand he is buried at the Sfax War Cemetery, Tunisia. Not sure of his location though. I also believe he and my father were related - Watene Tawa Tuhoro. If anyone can connect the dots for me I would appreciate it. Hiria.