February 03, 2014
King’s sword returned to iwi for safekeeping
A sword recognising the bravery of Te Arawa soldier Haane Manahi is back in the hands of the tribe … for now.
The retiring chief of the New Zealand Defence Force, Lieutenant General Richard Rhys Jones, returned the sword in a ceremony beside Lance Sergeant Manahi’s grave last week.
He received the sword from the iwi at the start of his three-year term in what is intended to be a new tradition.
It will be passed to the next Defence Force chief later this year.
The sword, which once belonged to King George VI, was given to the Manahi whanau in 2007 along with a special citation for bravery, an altar frontal cloth and a letter of tribute from the Queen.
The package was the result of a long campaign aimed at upgrading the Distinguished Conduct Medal the 28 Maori Battalion soldier won during the battle for Takrouna Ridge in Libya in 1943.
Four Allied generals had recommended he be awarded the Victoria Cross.
Te Papaiouru Marae chair Colin Bennett says the new relationship Ngati Whakaue and Te Arawa have formed with the Defence Force is important to the iwi.
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