A trip to remember Captain Pekama Kaa of the Pioneer Māori Battalion

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Checking off a major item on the bucket list, descendants of a Ngāti Porou war hero are making their way over to visit the grave of their elder to celebrate his memory and realise an ambition that has been a lifetime in the making.

Te Rangi Matanuku Kaa says, “100 years after his death we're going to pay our respects to our Pāpā Pekama Kaa.”

According to Dr Kuni Jenkins, “He was the brother of my father and died at Passchendaele in August 1917.”

Captain Pekama Kaa was a leader of the Pioneer Māori Battalion.

Te Rangi Matanuku Kaa says, “He was the one who, after the death of his relation Henare Kohere, was appointed to lead the soldiers at that time.”

They've both been celebrated in the St. Mary's church in Tikitiki on the East Coast.

Te Rangi Matanuku Kaa says, “To my best knowledge, there were three angels in that glass and they were removed by Apirana and images of those two were in the garden of Christ.”

This group of Ngāti Porou will be tracing the footsteps of their warrior elders.

Te Rangi Matanuku Kaa says, “We'll follow the trails of the soldiers from Amiens through to Belgium to Dunkirk. That's what we want to do is to feel the spirits of those who perished in WWI.”

He says they will be conducting prayers at the graves of their ancestors.