Monday, 3 November 2014

We will remember them


WW100: Commemorating the anniversary of WW1.


Excerpts from James Cowan's 'The Maori's in the Great War'


"In Rotorua there were scarcely any but older people, the women and children, every Arawa who could pass the doctor and look fit to carry a rifle and swag went into the camp to train for the great adventure. The age limit was liberally construed. There is a young Maori at Matata who enlisted with the Arawa in the 1st Maori Contingent, fought at Gallipoli in 1915 was invalided home where he married an Arawa girl and volunteered for further service abroad when his wife stopped his wandering by informing the authorities that he was only seventeen!"

"The Arawa and the Ngati Kahungunu of Te Wairoa were the first to volunteer to go to war for the British. They were organised into B Company and Platoon's 5 to 8 were shipped out to Auckland firstly on the troop-steamer 'Warrimoo' to Wellington where they took part in a Parade at Newtown Park before leaving for Gallipoli on 15 February 1915"

1st Contingent: B Company, Platoon 5 = Te Arawa; Platoon 6 = Te Awa-a-te-Atua to the East Coast and Waiapu ; Platoon 7 = Uawa (Tolaga Bay) and Gisborne ; Platoon 8 = Ngati Kahungunu from Te Mahia to Napier and Wairarapa.

The whole of the Maori contingents (1st and 2nd)then serving in Gallipoli were organised into the following platoon's and attached to NZ Infantry Brigades : Platoon's 1 & 2 - (Ngapuhi & Waikato) to the Auckland Battalion ; Platoon's 3 & 4 (West Coast of North Island, Wanganui & Wellington) to Wellington Battalion ; Platoon's 5 & 6 (Arawa, Bay of Plenty, Ngati Porou and East Coast, Taupo and South Island men) to Canterbury Battalion ; Platoon's 7 & 8 (Poverty Bay, Wairoa, Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa) to Otago Battalion.

By NZ Divisional Orders the formation of the NZ Pioneer Battalion was authorized on Feb 20th, 1916. The Battalion was to consist of officers and other ranks drawn from the N.Z.M.R.

"Captain Roger Dansey, whose dash has already been mentioned, himself killed three Turks with the bayonet. An anecdote of his alertness...was narrated by by one of his men long afterwards. "Captain Dansey", he said is as good a fighter as he was a footballer. Once a big Turk jumps up ahead of him he levels a rifle at his head. But Dansey just ducks and goes in for that Turk low down; the bullet goes over his head..."

Available to borrow, from the Maori Collection, on the 2nd Floor of Rotorua District Library. At 940.48z COW