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26 Whiringa a nuku (October) 2008

Karakia recited by Canon Wi Huata, Padre to the 28th Maori Battalion.

Waiata written by Te Okonga Huata and sung by Black Katz.

Te Ope Māori Hīkoi kia toa - Maori Battalion march to victory
Te Ope Māori kia kaha ra - Maori Battalion so very staunch
Te Ope Māori hikoi kia kororia ai - Maori Battalion march to glory
Mauria te hōnore o te iwi. - Be the living expression of the people's honour.
Ka hīkoi mātou ki te hoariri - We will march to the enemy
Whawhaitia tae noa ki te mutunga - We will march til the end
Mō te Atua! Mo te kingi! Me te whenua! - We will march to the enemy Put them to flight For God! For King! And for country
AU-E!, ake ake kia kaha e AU - E! - Forever and ever be strong!

The Second World War provided the setting for what has recognisably been identified as the most potent of Maori military forces, the 28th Māori Battalion. Their abilities on and off the battlefield earned a reputation that prevails 60 years later. Re-known for their physical prowess civilian lives as farm workers, shepherds, fencers and shearers combined with strong Iwi loyalties, transferred over easily into the war zone. Their practice of tikanga Māori set them aside from other battalions.

By fighting alongside their pākeha contemporaries, it was believed as advocated by Ngāti Pōrou statesman Sir Apirana Ngata, equality could be achieved for Māori back home. Made up of four faction's divided largely along Iwi boundaries, C Company aka Nga Kaupoi, The Cowboys comprised of men recruited from Tarakeha just outside of Opotiki in the Bay of Plenty to south of Paritu, Gisborne. Largely influenced by Ngata, C Company would provide a quarter of the battalion force during the war thus making their contribution to the war effort significant.

A book titled: Nga Tama Toa: The Price of Citizenship: C Company 28 (Māori) Battalion 1939-1945 recognises that, when it launches this Labour weekend in Gisborne. Building on 400 hours of recorded material, an exhibition based at Te Tai Rawhiti Museum where the author, Monty Soutar is the Director and nearly 20 years of research Nga Tama Toa: The Price of Citizenship: C Company 28 (Māori) Battalion 1939-1945, finally brings to rest a directive as laid down by Apirana Ngata in 1946.

As part of the book launch a re-enactment of the return of C Company to Gisborne, in 1946 will take place. This event was significant in that it utilised aspects of tikanga Māori that the battalion was reknown for, with returning soldiers under going a process of "whakanoa". The train, the 'Muriwai Express' was transporting C Company, to the powhiri at Te Poho o Rawiri Marae in Gisborne passing through Muriwai on its way. Nine men broke rank, jumping off the train as directed by their kaumatua, at Muriwai choosing instead to undergo a whakanoa process with their people at Muriwai before going onward to Te Poho o Rawiri. While against army protocol this action demonstrated the complete, non-negotiable practice of tikanga Māori on Māori terms.

Dr Monty Soutar is in discussion with Maraea Rakuraku and music sourced from the Battalion reunion in Gisborne in Easter weekend, 2008 features.

Kupu Hou (New Words)

Hoia - Soldier

Pakanga - War

Tuatahi - First

Tuarua - Second

Itari - Italy

Ihipa - Egypt

Pouaru/Wahanu - widow

Waiata featured include:

Ko wai Ka hua from Black Katz salute the 28th Maori Battalion

Maori Battalion marching song as recorded in 1943