100 years since Maniapoto Māori Pioneer Battalion men returned home to Te Kūiti

100 years ago on the 8th April 1919, Ngāti Maniapoto gathered at Te Kūiti pā to welcome home its men who had served with the New Zealand Māori (Pioneer) Battalion during the First World War. The Māori Pioneer Battalion were the only battalion of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force to return to New Zealand as a complete unit, arriving Auckland on the 6th April on the steamer Westmoreland. They were welcomed by people lining the streets of Auckland and then an official welcome at the Auckland Domain which was turned into a makeshift marae.  The Māori Pioneer Battalion then separated into their tribal platoons and dispersed to their wā kainga or hometowns.

The King Country Chronicle reported that the Ngāti Maniapoto contingent of men arrived by train at Te Kūiti on the 8th to a large number of cheering Europeans had gathered at the station along with school children to the number of several hundred.

The men then marched to the pā to be welcomed home by the iwi. There were also words of welcome from the Mayor.   The welcome-home function extended throughout the day. It was one of both joy and sorrow – joy for those who had returned home and sorrow for those who had not.  At least 12 men from Ngāti Maniapoto were killed overseas during the war.

Following the  whaikōrero the Mayor of Te Kūiti, with other councillors and a deputation of citizens, extended their welcome to the returned men on behalf of the district.   Lieutenants Tom Hetet and most likely Henry Te Haeata Wilkinson (the newspaper[1] reported the speaker as his brother C. Wilkinson but Charles Wilkinson was killed overseas in 1917), Quartermaster-Sergeant Tuheka Hetet and Corporal Anthony Ormsby, returned thanks for the welcome extended to them.

There was no memorial flagstaff to Maniapoto’s WWI servicemen at the pā at the time.  That would come later in the year, erected by the tribe in November with an inscription that, in part, read: “hei tohu mo te whakanui me te manaaki me te mihi a nga iwi ki nga tamariki o tenei karangatanga i haere i mate i uru ki te pakanga nui o te ao.” (as a symbol of the veneration, of the respect and the gratitude of the people for the young men of this tribe who went, who died, who took part in the great world war.)

Notably on the following day, the Ngāti Maniapoto chief Hari Hemara Wahanui died at Te Kūiti.  Hari Hemara’s sons, Kohatu and Paraone served with the 1st Māori Contigent. He, in fact, gave the farewell speech on behalf the Māori relatives visiting the contingent at a gala day at Avondale Camp in early January 1915, telling them to carry the honour of the Māori race. Hari Wahanui travelled to Auckland to welcome home one of his sons returning with the Māori Pioneer Battalion, only to take ill with the flu.  He returned home to Te Kūiti where he sadly passed away. Te Kūiti pā went from hosting the welcome to preparing for a large tangi which was attended by King Te Rata himself.

The following is a combination of two waiata. The first two verses are from World War One and recall Te Rata’s more neutral public position on Māori men serving in the war, namely, waiho ma te hiahia or let it be a matter of individual choice.  The second two verses are probably from a waiata from the Second World War sung on the return then of Ngāti Maniapoto’s servicemen.  The words nevertheless remain apt for those who came home from World War One.


E ngā tamariki hōia nei, whakarongo mai

Ki ngā mahi e mahia nei

Ko taku rākau e waha nei au

Mō taku Māoritanga e


E ngā iwi e tau nei, whakarongo mai

Ki ngā mahi e mahia nei

Te kupu a Te Rata me waiho mā te hiahia

Engari me hoki tū mai e



Soldier boys pay heed

To things as they happen

The weapon I wield

Is for my Māoritanga


People gathered here pay heed

To things as they happen

Te Rata has said, ‘As you wish –

But come back on your feet!



Nau mai, nau mai e tama

Ki runga o Maniapoto e

Ki a koutou kua tae mai tēnei rā

Kua rongo te ao nei tō ingoa

O ngā hōia Māori e

Nō reira haere mai hoki mai

Ki te iwi e

Auē, auē te aroha


Tangihia ngā hoa kua ngaro nei

I hinga ki te pakanga

Aue, aue te mamae e

Mō rātou kua wehe atu nei

Moe mai i te moenga roa

Me tangi muri nei

Nō reira haere rā, haere rā

Ki ō tūpuna

Auē, auē te mamae


Welcome, welcome sons

Unto Maniapoto

To you who have arrived this day

The world has heard  your name

That of the Māori soldier

Thus, welcome,  return

To your people

Alas is the love


We mourn your friends who have been lost

Who fell in battle

Alas is the pain

For those who have departed

Sleep the long sleep

While those left behind weep

Thus, farewell and go to your ancestors

Alas is the grief


Kei Wareware Tātou. Lest We Forget.


[1] ‘Maori Soldiers Return: Welcome at Te Kuiti’, King Country Chronicle,  8 April 1919,  p 5.

Ōrākau 155th Commemoration remembers the last defence

“Ka whawhai tonu mātou mo ake ake ake”

Each year, the Ōrākau Paewai site south-east of Kihikihi is set aside as momentum builds towards the commemoration of Te Pakanga o Ōrākau which was the last defence against the invasion of the British. This took place at the crossing of the Mangatawhiri awa in 1863 and the battle ended 155 years ago with the defence of an estimated 310 men, women and children. On the 31st March 2019, descendants from Maniapoto, Ngāti Raukawa, Tūwharetoa, Tauranga Moana, Tūhoe, and the Muslim community, gathered in solidarity and peace to honor and remember our ancestors and those who have fallen then and now.



Kaawhia Muraahi, of Ngāti Maniapoto, says, “One of the reasons why we come here every year, is to remember our ancestors but also to reinforce the idea about bringing Māori and Pākehā together, to understand our history, to appreciate the context, and work together to try and find a space where there is commonality, where there is unity, where there is compassion.”

To ensure that these issues are never victorious, a committed collective effort to rebuild all that was lost must be at the forefront of a united stand between our communities.

“Look at these places, tangata whenua took their stand to protect their sacred lands and their way of life. They occupied high ground, they occupied high ground because it was necessary for an effective defence against oppression, as a military strategy of protection. But, they also occupied high moral ground, and one of the reasons we are here today is because of the high moral ground that they occupy today.” says Sir David Moxon.

We are here to remember a very sad three days in the history of our people where 1100 colonial forces launched attacking waves on innocent lives. Though one of the great reasons why we stand up and commemorate year after year at Ōrākau Paewai is to demonstrate our resolve to bring restorative justice and work on racism together.

Significant progress was made by the Crown towards memorialising the New Zealand land wars of the 1800s in 2015 when the Crown purchased the battle site that is Ōrākau Paewai. However, in the face of these commemorations, questions are continually being raised on “why didn’t we know? “Why weren’t we taught?” “We have a right to know”. The kōrero, the karakia, the hopes, and dreams build through history and through each generation. This will start to change the face of Aotearoa. To look to the future, to a brighter future, to a new future.

The struggle that was described on the battle site 155 years ago, goes on forever and ever. Because it is a place to stand, a place to karakia, a place to shed tears, a place to connect and a place to dream of something far better.

Explore this kaupapa further by watching the video below.

More than 7000 engage in Maniapoto Māori Trust Board AGM

Tēnā anō tātou I raro iho i ngā āhuatanga o te wā. I roto I ngā rā pōuri kua mahue ake nei, inarā, te parekura taumaha ki runga o O-Tautahi. Tangihia rā ngā kākā haetara, ngā manu kāewa kua pania ki te kōkōwai o Hine-nui-i-te-pō, ki te huinga o te Kahurangi, ki te wahangūtanga o te tangata, ki reira okioki ai. Nō reira e moe.

Maniapoto Māori Trust Board (MMTB) and te iwi o Maniapoto gathered at Te Kotahitanga Marae on Sunday 24th March for the Hui a Tau (AGM). The Hui a Tau was an opportunity for our people to listen, learn, and voice their thoughts about the mahi undertaken by MMTB, Maniapoto Fisheries Trust (MFT), Te Kupenga o Maniapoto Ltd, and Te Reo Irirangi o Maniapoto.

Chairman of MMTB, Tiwha Bell said he was excited to be able to present significant achievements and outcomes to whānau present and online.

A highlight for many was the presentation by the commercial entity, TKoM, and their Chairman, Chris Koroheke. The asset holding company who manage the fish quota and sale of Annual Catch Entitlement (ACE) continue to create opportunities for the rohe by making successful investment of surplus funds with an eleven year track record of profitable operations.

Utilising live stream capabilities, the Hui a Tau was able to reach a multitude of over 7,500 people across three live stream videos with great engagement from those tuning in.

Presentations from Bella Takiari-Brame (TKoM Director, MMTB Generally Elected Trustee) and Keith Ikin, Deputy Chair of MMTB, highlighted significant milestones achieved over the last financial year along with Post Settlement Governance Entity and a Maniapoto Settlement update provided by Negotiator Glenn Tootill.

The socialisation of Ngā Pou o te Mana Whatu Āhuru was also presented. The Pou specifically focus on three priority areas in the negotiations with the Crown.

  1. Co-governance aspirations
  2. Co-design with government agencies on the delivery of crown services to Maniapoto people that will make a difference
  3. Co-investment with the Crown in key areas

During the Hui a Tau, it was also a time for many to reflect and celebrate on the milestone that MMTB has achieved in reaching its 30th Year since its establishment. Kōrero from Moana Herewini (Former Board member) and Rore Pat Stafford (Former Deputy Chair of MMTB) brought stories of nostalgia and acknowledgement to whānau who have contributed to their iwi whānui.

“The feedback that we have received from whānau and the iwi whānui was very positive. It is a strong sign that the quality of the various mahi that we continue to commit ourselves to are providing successful outcomes.  With healthy relationships from the past, present and future, we will be able to provide wealth and growth to our people.” says Mr Bell.


For more information contact:

Uenukuterangihoka Jefferies

022 358 9430


Communications Co-ordinator

Maniapoto Māori Trust Board