George Takurua

Surname
Takurua
Forename(s)
George
Date of death
18-Feb-44
Place of death
Italy

World War 2

Serial No
65266
Rank
Second Lieutenant
Address on enlistment
Ruatoki, New Zealand
Next of kin on enlistment
Mrs K. Takurua (wife), Ruatoki, New Zealand
Notes

Colonel Awatere wrote about George Takurua in his biography Awatere.

“My friend, the gallant Lieutenant George Takurua had fallen at the head of his men!  Oh what a tragedy to have lost such a man.  Of the Tuuhoe tribe, an only son of Chief Tamarau Takurua, this soldier was a loss not only to our Forces but also to his Tuuhoe people at home: as the ancient heroic poem of his Tuuhoe ancestors puts it:

Naa naa wharanii
Koe i whakamakariri atu
Ko Poohaturoa;
E hara i muri nei;
Kia whakataukiitia
Ko te uri oo Tuuhoe
Moumou tangata ki te Poo e!

The following is an interpretation, albeit a poor one, to retain the Maaori imagery without being too tangled in mixed metaphors:

By the weapons-of-war
Were you laid low
Yonder at Poohaturoa;
Tis no modern tradition;
Let it be declared
You are the descendant of Tuuhoe
Despatcher of men to the underworld!

B Company was also known as Te Arawa Company because it catered for men from the thermal region.  Lieutenant George Takurua commanded a platoon mostly of men of Tuuhoe descent, from Waikaremoana to Ruataahuna to Ruaaatoki, people who were named by the later Elsdon Best as Children of the Mist.”

Reference: Hinemoana Ruataupare Awatere (ed), Awatere : a soldier's story / Arapeta Awatere, Huia, Wellington, pp 152-153

  • George Takurua was the son of Tuhoe chief Takurua Tamarau, read his biography here.

Comments (1)

Bay of Plenty Beacon, Volume 7, Issue 60, 28 March 1944, Page 5With the official presumption of the death of 2nd Lieut. Takurua overseas, the district has lost yet another promising young life. Second Lieut. Takurua was the third son of Takurua Tamarau one of the foremost chiefs of the Mataatua, and paramount chief to-day of the Tuhoe tribe. He was born at Ruatoki 30 years ago, and was educated at the Ruatoki Native School. Owing to a long illness during this period he was forced to leave school in Standard 2 at the age of 15. He commenced work in the Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay districts and was able to increase his ability to use the English language till he could speak it quite fluently. In his own life was outstanding. He enlisted on the 4th April, after having worked for some time as a carting contractor, and was mobilised in May of the same year. He sailed from New Zealand on the 5th August, 1943, having obtained his commission at the end of the preceding year.The late 2nd Lieut. Takurua was a gifted musician, as well as being prominent in the field of sport. He was runner up in the Junior Championship, 1928, for the Mataatua Lawn Tennis Association Trophy, while during his period in the Army, he was conductor of the Battalion Dance Band, at Ohaewai Military Camp.He was married to Miss T. Merito, grand child of Merito Hetaraka another prominent chief of Mataatua, and leaves two children. He was posted missing on the 18th February, 1944 and reported killed two days later. His loss will be widely felt, and the deepest sympathy is extended to his wife and children, and to his sorrowing family.[Te Awhi's note: This was a lovely yet sad little find in the paper and I took the liberty of correcting the spelling in this article from Takarua to Takurua and Tamama to Tamarau as above.]