The opening of the C Company Māori Battalion Memorial House in Gisborne in two weeks will mark the same date that the first group of Māori soldiers left for WWI 100 years ago.
To mark the occasion, 60 young Māori men will re-enact the group and wear special replica WWI uniforms that have been donated by Sir Peter Jackson.
Many of the young Māori men have genealogical links to the men who left for war, so getting kitted out in what their ancestors wore in their time has been a true eye-opener.
According to Eparaima Soutar, “It's pretty cool wearing these clothes, even though they're hot as, but if my great-grandfather could do it, then so can I.”
It is a first time military experience for most of the men and with just two weeks to go until the big opening, the drill instructors have their work cut out for them.
The memorial house will officially open November 15 where these young men will march as part of the parade in memory of their ancestors who were the first Māori contingent to arrive in Gallipoli.