Three Niuean soldiers who served in the First World War will now be included in the New Zealand Roll of Honour and Commonwealth War Graves Commission records, Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry says.
“Privates Alotau 16/1030, Mitipauni 16/1096 and Muimatagi 16/1098 will be added to the Roll after extensive research into First World War service records by the New Zealand Defence Force,” Ms Barry says.
“The Ministry for Culture and Heritage will ensure their names are inscribed on the Roll and will take their graves under its care, safeguarding their future maintenance. In Niuean Language Week, and on the centenary of their departure for New Zealand, it is fitting we can finally give these brave men the recognition they deserve.”
Privates Alotau, Mitipauni and Muimatagi died after they returned to Niue, from illnesses contracted while serving with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF).
The Ministry for Culture and Heritage is the official keeper of the New Zealand Roll of Honour, held at the National War Memorial in Wellington, and official agent for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in New Zealand.
“Alotau, Mitipauni and Muimatagi were trained along with the rest of the Niuean contingent at the Narrow Neck camp, in my own North Shore electorate,” Ms Barry says.
“They volunteered to leave their island home to fight on the other side of the world for New Zealand and the British Empire, and we owe them a great debt, as we do all who fought in the First World War.”
A ceremony marking the anniversary of the departure of the 150-strong Niuean contingent from the island will be held in Alofi on October 13, attended by Foreign Minister Murray McCully.
In addition, Reverend Tom Etuata of the Niuean community will recite the Ode of Remembrance in Niuean during the 5pm Last Post service at the National War Memorial in Wellington on October 18, to mark the end of Niuean Language Week.
Further information about the Niuean contribution to the NZEF can be found at: http://ww100.govt.nz/niue-joins-the-new-zealand-war-effort
Updated on 12th October 2015