August 10, 2015
Maori recognised at Chunuk Bair.
The role of Maori was recognised yesterday at a battlefield service to mark the centennary of the First World War battle of Chunuk Bair.
While Maori had previously fought as part of other units Chunuk Bair was the first action that the Maori Native Contingent joined the fighting in their own right and according to historian Dr Monty Soutar they most certainly distinguished themselves in the battle where 850 New Zealanders lost their lives in two days of intense fighting.
At yesterday's centennary service at the New Zealand memorial on Chunuk Bair Governor-General Jerry Mateparae told the hundreds gathered they were there to honour some of the bravest men to ever serve our country.
Sergeant-Major Brent Pene led a stirring haka by male and female Defence Force members while New Zealand VC Willie Apiata read a citation to Cyril Bassett the only New Zealander to win the Victoria Cross at Gallipoli.
He quoted Corporal Bassett as saying hundreds should have been awarded but all his mates got were wooden crosses.
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