The story of the Mahoney family has been etched on the walls of a dining hall in Ruatoki for years, and now the descendants of the four soldiers of the family whose names sit alongside Tūhoe War Veterans are finding out why their ancestors names have such a special place.
It's the first time for James Mahoney to visit Ruatoki and see the roll of honour which features his family name.
He says, “My father was born here when my grandfather, who also serviced in the First World War, returned here wounded in 1920. So I feel a huge affinity for this place and I'm very, very grateful to be invited to come here to this ceremony.”
James Mahoney is the great grandson of Cornelius Mahoney who was the head master in Ruatoki. His sons fought in the First World War in 1915.
“Of his three sons, Brain, Gerald, Ulic James and Lancelot were all killed in the First World War. Ulic was 20 years old and was killed at Quinns Post, Gallipoli in June 1915,” says James Mahoney.
Seven members of the Mahoney family were invited to attend the commemorations here in Ruatoki where the names of their grandfathers are printed side by side with those of Tūhoe who fought in the First World War.
John McCorkindale says, “70 soldiers of Tūhoe went to the First World War, three of them went to Gallipoli.”
For the community of Ruatoki, the event was special with the attendance of the last of the Tūhoe War Veterans Haare Te Nuku Ratana of the 28th Māori Battalion, Company B.
He sat side by side with the great grandson of Cornelius Mahoney. His sons also have a special place in this dining hall.