Historian appointed for Māori Battalion's D Company

Ministers Hekia Parata and Maggie Barry have announced the new historian for the 28th Māori Battalion's D Company, Harawira Craig Pearless.

The Ministries of Education and Arts, Culture and Heritage along with the Ngārimu VC and 28th (Māori) Battalion Memorial Scholarship Fund Board are partnering on a project to document the histories of A, B and D Companies of the 28th Māori Battalion.

Parata says the A, B and D companies' histories are being commissioned to complement Ngā Tama Toa, the C Company history published in 2008.

"When completed, these documents will mark a significant step towards further preserving the legacy of the 28th Māori Battalion. The histories project will also lead to the production of curriculum resources to be used in early childhood education centres, kōhanga reo, kura and schools," says Parata.

"Whānau participation will be crucial to the project’s success, as they hold the stories, letters, photos and records that will breathe life and colour into the D Company history.

I’m hoping that whānau will be keen to take part so we can ensure that the history is as rich and detailed as possible, revealing the significant contribution the Battalion’s men and their families made to this country," Parata says.

Pearless will document D Company’s major battles, actions and engagements during World War II says Barry.  The book will also discuss the sacrifices made and commitment of the hau kāinga in their support of the war effort and dealing with the loss of loved ones.

"The D Company history, alongside the histories of the other companies, will be highly valuable resources for veterans and their families, and provide historical and educational information for the wider New Zealand public. The histories will commemorate the Battalion’s service to Māoridom and the nation," Barry says.

On April 19, the call went out last week for up to 400 photos of the 900 men who made up the 28th Māori Battalion's B Company.

Its author, Sir Wira Gardiner, a military historian and retired Lieutenant-Colonel, says the book will capture the virtues and bravery of the men with a particular emphasis on telling the story from soldiers’ perspectives. For more information, read here.