February 03, 2023
Battle honours set for last campaign
A Maori historian expects the flying of a special Maori Battalion flag in Rotorua on Waitangi Day will be deeply moving.
The army has found the Māori Battalion Battle Honours, put into storage when the battalion was disbanded at the end of World War II.
On Monday it will present it to the battallion’s last member, 97-year-old Tā Robert Bom Gillies, who will receive it on behalf of his fallen brothers of B Company.
Battalion historian Harawira Pearless says despite his age, Tā Bom believes he has a duty to present the flag in person to other areas represented by the Battalion – starting with a cermony in Waitangi on February 18 for A Company.
“Mr Gillies’ intentions at this stage, after the event at Waitangi, the kawe mate at Waitangi – he wants to go on a nation wide tour and take the colours to the C and D Company areas,” Dr Pearless says.
Being able to fly the flag will resolve a grievance held by battalion members and their whanau for 76 years.