Topics: 28th Māori Battalion, ANZAC

Unearthing History of Māori at War

By Dean Nathan

Harawira Pearless has conducted extensive research on battle sites around the world where Māori fought and he’s now using that passion to produce a special guide for families and descendants of Māori soldiers who saw action in wartime.

This year he took a particular interest in the famous ridge known as Māori Hill which is the warpath the ANZACs took in their attack on Chanuk Bair, many whose final resting places are unknown. Pearless is on a mission to find two things, one the burial of his great-grandfather Walter Relf Pearless, who landed at Gallipoli aged 61 and was reported to be the oldest Kiwi to fight at the peninsula, and secondly to find the headquarters of the First Māori Expeditionary Force and he believes he may have solved the mystery.

Pearless has matched the carving that’s seen in this photo with Australian soldiers standing next to a rock wall which reads “NZ Māori Pah” with a military painting as a reference and believes the pā was between Fisherman’s Hut and the No.1 outpost.

He says the landscape on the peninsula has changed over the years as well as the pā and sculpture due to local farming.

Mr Pearless is currently working on a PhD about the Māori Battalion in World War II, and it will be the first time someone has taken interest in finding the pā.

For more on this story tune in to Te Kāea at 5.30pm tonight.  Every night this week, Dean Nathan will produce stories from Gallipoli as part of Māori Television, Te Kāea news coverage of ANZAC, bringing insights from New Zealand and local perspectives on one of the most important events in our nation’s history.