October 23, 2016
Nolan Raihania a tireless worker for Maori
Thousands of people have been through the gates of Pakirikiri Marae in Tokomaru Bay to farewell Nolan Raihania, the last president of the 28 Maori Battalion Association, who has died at the age of 89.
Mr Raihania joined C Company in 1944 as a 16-year-old and was sent to Italy with the 12th Reinforcements.
After the war he worked as a carpenter before taking up shearing, moving his growing family to Mataura in the South Island.
While there he set up the Mataura Maori Club, and served on the Mataura Borough Council from 1968 to 1978.
He also had a singing group, the Four Notes, and raced horses.
On his return to the East Coast for what was supposed to be his retirement, Mr Raihania immersed himself in Maori and tribal affairs.
He helped rebuild Waiparapara Marae after its share kai was destroyed by Cyclone Bola, and he was elected to the Ngati Porou Runanga.
He pursued a case through the Maori Land Court to confirm his wife Gin’s interests in two Tauwhareparae blocks which he then ended up managing, building up a major organic growing business.
Mr Raihania became the National President of the 28th Maori Battalion Association in 2008 and led the difficult decision to wind up the organisation at the number of veterans diminished.
He was made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2011.
There are now only six surviving members of the Maori Battalion, including three from C Company.
Nolan Raihania will be buried among his ancestors on Tuesday.
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