March 19, 2014
Monte Cassino veteran dies
A Maori Battalion veteran who rose above the effects of a devastating shrapnel wound incurred at Monte Cassino is being laid to rest in Paeroa today.
Reihana Rautahi from Rangitane o Tamaki Nui a Rua died in Thames Hospital on Sunday aged 95.
He enlisted in 1941 at the age of 23 and received a shrapnel wound in the head two years later which left him permanently paralysed down his left side.
After four years rehabilitation in Rotorua Hospital he found work as a French polisher, and he continued working into his 70s.
The former member of the battalion’s winning rugby team also became a sports administrator, even though his own playing career had been cut short.
Sergeant Rautahi is featured on the 2010 Anzac Remembrance Stamp visiting the Sangro War Cemetery in Italy in 2004, where many of his battalion comrades are buried.
He is survived by his widow Belenaise (Pele) Rautahi, daughter Donna Rautahi and three grandchildren.
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