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28th (Māori) Battalion company histories

In 2014, the then Minister of Education Hekia Parata (who also chairs the Ngārimu VC and 28th (Māori) Battalion Memorial Scholarships board) and then Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage Christopher Finlayson agreed on the importance of urgently documenting the histories of A, B and D Companies of the 28th Māori Battalion, to complement Nga Tama Toa, the history C Company published in 2008. These histories will be seminal and highly valuable resources for veterans and their families, and provide historical and educational information for the wider New Zealand community. They will commemorate the Battalion’s service to Māoridom and the nation, and inform national memory. The respective Ministries will work in partnership to bring these projects to fruition.

Copies of Nga Tama Toa are available for purchase from Bateman Publishing.

Progress toward a history of B Company was made with the formation of the 28th Māori Battalion B Company History Trust. B Company veterans Arthur Midwood, Te Puhi Patara and Haare Te Nuku Ratana were settlors of the Trust along with the only surviving B Company veteran Robert Gillies. The purpose and role of the Trust is to protect, maintain and preserve the integrity, honour and mana of B Company of the 28th (Māori) Battalion. The Trust and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, funded and supported by the Ngārimu VC and 28th (Māori) Battalion Memorial Scholarships board and the Ministry of Education, will manage the research and publication of the history of B Company in the Second World War. 

In August 2015, an MOU between the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and the 28th Māori Battalion B Company History Trust concerning a history of the Battalion’s B Company in the Second World War was signed. Sir Wira Gardiner was contracted to write the history. The soldiers of B Company, nicknamed 'The Penny Divers', came mainly from Te Arawa and the Mātaatua tribes but also included men from the Hauraki district. They fought in more engagements and received more decorations than any other company of the Māori Battalion. Sir Wira Gardiner has finished writing a draft of the book, Ake Ake Kia Kaha E which will be launched in April 2019.

Chair of the Trust Graeme Vercoe and former Ministry Chief Executive Paul James signing the B Company history MOU in August 2015.

Work on the A and D Company histories is currently being proposed in consultation with their respective history trusts.

Updated on 13th March 2019