Haare Te Nuku Ratana of Ngāi Tūhoe, member of the 28 Māori Battalion and one of the two last survivors from the B Company has passed away.
Frank Vercoe (Ngāi Tūhoe) says, “What can I say that hasn't already been said on the marae? He was a solider, a worker who helped built this marae.”
He was a member of the 10th reinforcement of the Māori Battalion, Company B, who went to WWI. Born in Whakatāne and raised in Ruatoki and Waimana, he was a skilled hunter and builder.
With Haare Te Nuku's passing, the number of remaining battalion members has dropped to nine.
“We are saddened for our elder. The family needs to come together to look after each other. What else is there to say but for them to take care on this marae. This is one of the marae he built. He cut the trees down and split them here,” added Vercoe.
Haare Te Nuku Ratana passed away at the age of 94. He will remain at Owhakatoro Marae in Ruatoki until his burial on Thursday.