19 Mar 2014

Veteran Reihana Rautahi dies

4:48 pm on 19 March 2014

Reihana Rautahi, one of the last remaining members of the 28th Maori Battalion, has died. He was 95.

Mr Rautahi, of Rangitane o Tamaki Nui a Rua, was in D Company and served in North Africa and Italy during World War Two.

Family member Te Weu Jobe says Mr Rautahi's service ended at the Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944, when he was 25.

He received a shrapnel wound to the head and returned to New Zealand paralysed down one side of his body.

Mr Jobe says Mr Rautahi lived by the philosophy that you must always find a way forward, and that he was very proud to be a soldier and serve in the Maori Battalion.

Mr Rautahi featured on an ANZAC remembrance stamp in 2010, pictured visiting the Sangro War Cemetery in Italy in 2004.

Mr Rautahi passed away over the weekend at Thames Hospital and his funeral will be held in Paeroa on Wednesday.

There are now just 19 surviving members of the Maori Battalion.