Exploring the significance of the 28th Māori Battalion

By Te Ao - Māori News

A new book is set to be released which explores the significant campaigns that the 28th Māori Battalion were involved with in Greece, North Africa and Italy during WW2. 

Writer and former soldier Wira Gardiner will release his new book, Ake Ake Kia Kaha E!  Forever Brave! in April.

The 28th Māori Battalion was a frontline infantry unit that was part of the 2nd New Zealand Division that fought in the war. 

Enlistment was completely voluntary and at any one time 700–750 men were in the battalion, organised across four rifle companies, A, B, C and D, and a Headquarters company.  The four rifle companies were organised along tribal lines.

Ake Ake Kia Kaha E!  Forever Brave! looks at the war from the perspective of B Company, which drew its members mainly from the Te Arawa and Mataatua confederations of tribes, but also from Tauranga Moana, Coromandel, Waikato and King Country.

It focuses on the impact the war had of whānau, the role of women who stayed back and kept things going at home and the experiences of many servicemen on their return to Aotearoa. 

The book features specially commissioned maps which help to clarify key actions B Company was involved in and includes a list of the 968 soldiers who served overseas with B Company, along with photographs. 

The thoughts, observations and stories of the men themselves are interwoven with the main narrative through their letters, family anecdotes and photographs.

Ake Ake Kia Kaha E!  Forever Brave! is intended as a record of those stories and the men and their families who sacrificed so much.