8 May 2012

Iwi wartime tensions to be investigated

4:55 pm on 8 May 2012

Tension between tribes and the Government during World War I is being explored by a military historian.

Monty Soutar, of Ngati Porou and Ngati Awa, is writing a book about Maori soldiers who served between 1914 and 1918.

But he says the research goes beyond the battlefront.

Mr Souter says he will also study iwi that didn't want their men to volunteer to fight, because they were still suffering from land confiscation by colonial forces.

He says that was particularly the case in the case in Waikato and Taranaki - places under real pressure to send men to the front.

Mr Souter says conscription was applied to the areas, and some men ended up going to prison because of their beliefs, rather than going to fight.

Mr Soutar says the book on Maori involvement is timed to co-incide with the centenary of World War I.

He's asking to see diaries, letters, postcards, photos, maps and mementoes the men brought back home from overseas to help him complete his project.