Thursday October 19, 2017   Last updated 01:54AM
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End a new beginning for Battalion

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Many of the remaining 25 veterans of the 28th Māori Battalion gather in Wellington this weekend to wind up their association, but there's a prospect something could rise in its place.

Tomorrow's ceremonies include a Military Service at 9.30am at the National War Memorial in the morning with Governor General Sir Jerry Mataparae as guest of honour, followed by lunch at Pipitea Marae. The one-hour formal remembrance service starts at 9.30am and the veterans, dignitaries and invited guests will attend the powhiri at the marae by 11am.

Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Parekura Horomia, the son of a veteran, says it will be a day of both celebration and of sad memories.

He says the decision to wind up the association was one for the veterans to make.

"They wanted to tidy up their business and wrap up their association so as they said 'when the last fellow goes out the door they owe nobody nothing.' On the other side there are still a lot of widows alive and I think a lot of the organisations around the country have already started to frame what the Maori Battalion will look like in conjunction with groupings like Vietnam, Malaya, and Korea because they are getting older now," Mr Horomia says.

To mark the official wind-up, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage has added Christmas messages made 70 years ago by wounded Māori troops in North Africa.

The recordings were made by a National Broadcasting Service that travelled with the troops, and were found last month by sound archivist Sarah Johnston while researching seasonal Christmas audio.




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