Final parade for Heretaunga 28th Māori Battalion

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

The 28th Māori Battalion Heretaunga Branch held it's final parade today at Ruahapia Marae in Hawke's Bay.

“It’s the end of an era,” says the branch’s chairman Gordon Paku “it’s a sad thing.”

The national 28th Māori Battalion was formed in 1959 and each company formed their own branch across the country, however it closed down in 2012.

But many of the local branches like Heretaunga decided to keep its doors open.

“We said no, we didn’t have the right to shut it down, the last of our soldiers who walked out the door, he would turn the lights out and he would shut the door, it was that type of association.”

But it was decided after the last member of D Company in Ngāti Kahungunu passed away in October last year, Rangiwaho Whaanga aged 89-years-old, that they would close too.

At just 16-years-old he went away with the battalion and by the time he was 21-years-old he had served in four different tours of duty, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore.