Maori Battalion formally wound up

By Hana Garrett-Walker

Surviving members of the Maori Battalion and president Nolan Reihana hands over the Maori Battalion flag during the ceremony. Photo / Marty Melville
Surviving members of the Maori Battalion and president Nolan Reihana hands over the Maori Battalion flag during the ceremony. Photo / Marty Melville

A poignant service to mark the 28th Maori Battalion winding up was held this morning in blustery Wellington weather.

The ceremony at the National War Memorial drew about 300 people, including 28th Maori Battalion servicemen and families of those who served in the unit.

There are 25 living survivors of the famous military unit, and the decision was made to wind up the association before the last man died.

A wreath laying ceremony was held next to the tomb of the unknown warrior, where dignitaries including Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae and Culture Minister Chris Finlayson laid a wreath of remembrance.

Living members of the Battalion also laid wreaths alongside the tomb, receiving a round of applause each time a member stood.

Representatives from other countries, including South Africa, France and Italy, were also at today's ceremony.

A luncheon for 48 Maori Battalion association members, dignitaries and servicemen and families is being held at Pipitea Marae.

- APNZ

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