Topic: 28th Māori Battalion

East Coast mourn the loss of Nolan Raihania

  • North Island: East Coast

The East Coast mourn the loss of Returned Serviceman 28th Maori Battalion, C Company's Nolan (Noel) Tariho Rimitiriu Raihania. Nolan who was in his 90th Year was of Ngai Tamanuhiri, Rongomaiwahine and Ngati Porou descent.

Nolan Tariho Raihania was born on the 16th of November 1926 in Muriwai

He was raised by his grandmother Arawhita Merania Pohatu in their family home affectionately known as "The Palace". He was educated at Te Muriwai Native School before heading off to Te Aute College in 1940. While he was at Te Aute he heard stories of the war and decided he wanted to enlist in the army

This led him to join the Home Guard in 1943 and then later enlisting into the army at the age of 17. He trained at the Linton Army Camp before heading over to Italy under Sir John the Major

He returned from the war in 1946 and worked as a carpenter before meeting his beloved wife Ana Hine I Ahuarangi Te Ata Iti Te Oparani Rangiriri Raihania or otherwise known as Gin who he married in 1949. Shortly after they married their eldest child Hine was born followed by Iritana and then Kumeroa

In 1956 Nolan headed south to work in the shearing sheds, and 1958 decided to move his family down south to live in Mataura. It was here he had his first son, Wirihana (Boy), followed by Te Ihi (Pip), Herewini, Nolan, Na, and then Keriana.

Nolan worked as a shearer for the 30 years while he was in Mataura and his family became his shearing gang

During that time he led and tutored the Mataura Māori Club which helped to raise funds for the Māori Education Foundation and went on to compete in many national kapa-haka competitions

He had several horses in the horse racing business, two of them called Hikohiko and Marotiri (Snuckles) who won major races. He formed a Māori Quartet called The Four Notes who became a huge hit in the South Island.

From 1968 to 1978 he served as a council member for the Mataura Borough Council and then became a Justice of the Peace

In 1984 He established the Mataura Marae, Te Hono o Te Ika a Maui ki Ngai Tahu, It was also here that Ngoi Pewhairangi taught and aired for the first time E Tū Tautoko Noa

Now in his 60's Nolan and his wife decided to move back home to Tokomaru Bay with the hopes of retiring. This was not the case, though.

His first job when he returned home was to roof the Marae, Te Hono Ki Rarotonga. He then planned and built the dining room at Waiparapara Marae which was destroyed by Cyclone Bola. All this work was done for free. He was a qualified builder which he gained after the war.  

Nolan went home and ended up having to fight a land case to win back the land of his wife. After winning that case he was then made to manage the land which led him to create the first organic corn and pumpkin maize on the Coast. 

He helped to rebuild Waiparapara Marae. Became a Trustee for Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Porou and retired from there after the deed of settlement was signed. He was a member of the United Sports Club in Tokomaru Bay and the Gisborne RSA.

In 2008 he became the National President of the 28th Māori Battalion and is still considered the president even after the members of the official association marked it's ending in 2012

In 2011 Nolan was made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit and in 2014 he met his holiness the Pope Francis and Prince Harry while attending the commemorations of the Battle of Cassino in Italy.

Through it all, his love for his family was second to none. His work ethic was unparalleled and his key to success was to get up and go to work every day.  He could express himself eloquently in both Maori and English and had a beautiful tenor voice for singing Italian songs. He continued to shear at the age of 60, he continued to work the land to this very day. He was a Jack of all trades, a master of many, a carpenter, a shearer, a kapa-haka man, a community leader, a role model, a veteran who will be greatly missed.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember him, Nolan Tariho Raihania