October 31, 2023
Media Release: Recognising Mana at Waitangi Māori Battalion Medals ceremony
‘RECOGNISING MANA’ AT WAITANGI MĀORI BATTALION MEDALS CEREMONY
Presenting medals to the whānau of Māori Battalion soldiers who fought in World War II is a chance to recognise the mana they brought to themselves and New Zealand, says Chief of Army Major General John Boswell.
Major General Boswell participated in the presentation of 78 sets of medals to whānau, in recognition of the service and sacrifice of soldiers and officers of the 28 (Maori) Battalion at a ceremony at Te Whare Rūnanga, the wharenui on Waitangi Treaty Grounds, on Saturday.
“This is a significant day to honour the service and sacrifice of those soldiers from 28 (Maori) Battalion all those years ago,” he said.
“It’s also an opportunity to recognise the mana they brought to themselves, to their families, the New Zealand Army and New Zealand.”
Colonel Trevor Walker has been responsible for coordinating ceremonies on behalf of the New Zealand Army in Waitangi, Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, Christchurch, Trentham and Rotorua.
Each ceremony was subtly different, he said.
“It has been an absolute privilege to have been a part of this kaupapa, and that feeling of privilege is shared by all those in the team that brought this together.
“The ceremony at Waitangi brought us to the ‘home’ of A Company and the emotion and wairua displayed today reflects the deep, spiritual meaning these medals have to whānau.
“It is incredibly rewarding to be a small part of making this right and getting medals to those who deserve them.”
Government policy after World War II was that former service personnel would have to apply for their medals, which would then be sent to them through the post.
This was to avoid the problems experienced after World War I, when about 10 percent of medals posted to ex-service personnel or their families were returned because of out-of-date address information.
For a variety of reasons, many World War II veterans did not claim their medals.
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) Personnel Archives and Medals unit worked with David Stone, from Te Mata Law, regarding the unclaimed medals of 28 (Maori) Battalion.
They identified approximately 500 sets of medals – which were never claimed by former battalion personnel.
“The team from NZDF archives are the unsung heroes of this kaupapa. They reviewed thousands of files to determine who had received medals and who were yet to claim,” Colonel Walker said.
The families of the men who never claimed their medals are entitled to apply for them through the NZDF Personnel Archives and Medals Office.
The contact details are:
NZDF Personnel Archives & Medals
Trentham Military Camp
Private Bag 905
Upper Hutt 5140
Tel: 04 527 5280
Online applications may also be submitted. More information can be found here: