Fallen Māori veterans in Malaysia set to return home

Te Paraeroa a Tūmataueranga is a group who've been fighting on behalf of the families to bring their loved ones home following the Malayan Emergency war. Thirty six Service personnel and dependants will be brought back to New Zealand from Southeast Asia, six of those remains are Māori.  Te Kāea spoke to ex-servicemen Hemana Waaka of Te Paraeroa a Tūmatauenga.

Te Paraeroa a Tūmatauenga are relieved soldiers from the Malayan will be returned to New Zealand.

Waaka says, “This year the Government will undergo the return of our friends and their dependants who we have mourned for over the years.”

Families of New Zealand military personnel buried overseas will be offered the chance to repatriate their loved ones, after the Government changed its policy in the face of pressure from families and the RSA.

“This will support the families. We have always supported the notion that they should pay for their complete return, don't just bring them back to New Zealand and that's it.”

Veterans' Affairs Minister David Bennett says repatriation will cover New Zealand soldiers buried overseas between 1955 and 1971 in Singapore and Malaysia. Te Paraeroa a Tūmataenga was established as an advocacy group three years ago to assist families with having their loved ones returned.

“When a soldier served overseas, you knew that you were guaranteed to be returned home if you died but that did not happen.”

Next month Te Paraeroa a Tūmataenga plan to meet with families in Te Kauwhata to assist with the repatriation process.