28th Māori Battalion

Kia maumahara tonu tātou ki a rātou.

When the 28th Māori Battalion banner was marched out of Pipitea on 1 December 2012 it marked the end of the National Association of the mighty Battalion.

Published: Friday, 7 December 2012 | Rāmere, 07 Hakihea, 2012

That day, 25 members of the renowned Battalion were still alive. Twelve were able-bodied enough to attend the two official events marking the National Associations’ wind-up.

Less than two weeks later, the number of surviving 28th Māori Battalion members was 24 after the passing of Donald Taylor of C Coy.

A Commemorative and Wreath-laying Ceremony with full military honours at the National War Memorial was held in the morning followed by the final official luncheon at Pipitea Marae a little later.

Guests of honour included the Governor General Lt-Gen Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, Associate Minister of Māori Affairs Hon Christopher Finlayson and Chief of Defence Force Lt-Gen Rhys Jones.

Surrounded by family, carers and friends; the old soldiers remembered fallen comrades and those who had passed since the Second World War as representatives from each of the company’s laid wreaths.

More than 70 years after the Second World War when the 3,600 Māori Battalion members forged a fierce reputation in campaigns in North Africa, Greece and Italy, it remains the most decorated New Zealand Battalion ever.

The 1 December events were the culmination of a lot of work to bring about the wishes of the veterans themselves who had first mooted the idea of winding up the National Association almost seven years ago.

Photographer Michael Bradley provided Te Puni Kōkiri with the images of the events and veterans on this page.