Topic: 28th Māori Battalion

Govt provides funding to preserve Māori Battalion stories

By Aroha Treacher

Preserving the stories of the famed 28th Māori Battalion has just got a helping hand from the Government. 

After the success of Monty Soutar's book featuring the C Company 'Cowboys', $700,000 has been set aside as part of a project to preserve the histories of the battalion's 'Gumdiggers', 'Penny Divers' and 'Ngāti Walkabout' companies. 

It was in 1944 when Jim Whaanga's older brother Rangiwaho Whaanga went away to war with the 28th Māori Battalion at just 16 years old.

By the time he was 21 he had served in four different tour of duties and was lucky to return home to Nuhaka with no physical wounds, but the mental scars remained, not only for him, but his family too.

Very few of them remain with us today, so telling their stories is paramount.  Funding will enable support for three historians to undertake the project, working alongside whānau, iwi and communities.

It's the first time funding of this magnitude has been granted specifically for the 28th Māori Battalion, to ensure stories like Rangi's are not forgotten.  

More information on the project can be found on the Ministry of Education website.