May 20, 2014
Young and old mark Cassino sacrifice
Forty East Coast students joined World War II veterans yesterday at a memorial service at Monte Cassino in Italy, where many of their forebears lost their lives.
The group is on the 70th Anniversary Legacy Tour of North Africa, Italy, Crete and Turkey, which has been partly-funded by the Ngarimu VC and 28th (Maori) Battalion Memorial Scholarship Fund Board.
Education Minister Hekia Parata says they are having the trip of a lifetime and taking their education out of the classroom.
She says star of the trip has been former Maori Battalion veteran Nolan Raihania, who is part of an official group of abut 40 New Zealand veterans.
"The kids say he has been an absolute hit, particularly in Italy where he has been regaling the little towns at which the civic ceremonies have been held for various Maori Battalion exploits, he has been singing in Italian and Maori and English and having all the townsfolk joining in the Italian and some of the Maori songs with him," Ms Parata says.
Yesterday’s ceremony was led by New Zealand Governor General Sir Gerry Mataparae, and attended by Prince Harry.
It included a moving maimai aroha as about 40 veterans and New Zealand soldiers, sailors and airmen entered the cemetery at Cassino where 456 New Zealanders are buried and the names recorded of 55 others whose remains were never identified.
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