27th May 2019
Off the back of a very successful audience with His Holiness Pope Francis, where Kiingi Tuheitia Potatau Te Wherowhero VII invited the Pope to visit him in New Zealand, he has now turned his attention to the New Zealanders that lost their lives at the Battle of Cassino.
Today Kiingi Tuheitia, his wife, daughter and delegation visited the graveyards at the Cemetery of Cassino to pay their respects to the 457 New Zealand soldiers that died there, which included over 60 from the 28th Maori Battalion.
War historian Sir Wira Gardiner, who is also the Director of the King’s Office said the battle for Cassino was one of the fiercest battles in the Italian campaign in WWII.
He said, “the King came today to not only pay his respects to the New Zealand soldiers, but the Maaori soldiers who predominantly came from A and B companies who led the attack on the Rail station which was a strategic asset in the fight for Cassino.”
The King also visited the sixth-century Benedictine monastery founded on the ancient hilltop site of Monte Cassino. The monastery is a massive Samnite fortification which was almost levelled on the 13th of May 1944. It has since been brought back to life but the controversial decision to bomb this cultural site of significance to gain the high ground over the Germans was a costly one.
The 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Cassino was recently commemorated and around 100 Māori recently travelled to Cassino to acknowledge the lives lost in war.
Māori broadcaster stalwart and Queens Medal recipient Reuben Collier (Ngāti Rereahu-Maniapoto) along with his wife (who is from Cassino), joined the delegation and provided powerful dialogue and perspective on the Māori-Italian allied relationship.
Ka maumahara tonu tatou ki a ratou – we will remember them.
Photo Credit: Te Puhi Ariki Nga Wai Hono I te Po
Press Secretary: Jade Hohaia
The Office of the Kiingitanga
P.O Box 63 Ngaruawahia 3742
Photo Caption: Rueben Collier, HM Kiingi Tuheitia and Sir Wira Gardiner at the Cemetery in Cassino
OFFICE OF THE KIINGITANGA
25th May 2019
Today at 10:28am the Māori King,His Majesty Kiingi Tuheitia Potatau Te Wherowhero VII was granted a private audience with His Holiness Pope Francis at the Vatican.
A private audience may only be granted to Heads of State, but this was the level of honour that was shown to the Māori King.
The King was accompanied by his wife Makau Ariki Atawhai and his daughter Te Puhi Ariki Nga Wai Hono i te Po. This is the King’s first time to Romme and his first time meeting with the Pope.
The King’s mother, the late Te Arikinui Dame Te Ātairangikāhu travelled to the Vatican to meet Pope Paul VI in 1975 and the King is keeping that tradition alive and the Kiingitanga (Māori Monarchy) connection to the Roman Catholic Church.
The King was also received by the Cardinal Pietro Parolin (Secretary of State) after his meeting with the Pope. Much of the conversations with both the Pope and the cardinal related to the Kiingitanga’s vision for unity amongst te iwi Māori, different cultural groups and different faiths. The Royal party for this Papal audience was also supported by a delegation that included the Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Sir David Moxon and Archdeacon Ngira Simmonds. The Anglican Church were pivotal in securing the audience with the Pope, thus embodying the aphorism of the Second Māori King, King Tāwhiao who said “in the palm of my hand I hold three treasures the Anglican,the Methodist and the Catholic churches.”
They talked about current issues facing all New Zealanders, particularly Māori and indigenous communities when it comes to employment, youth issues, housing, health and education.
The Māori King also formally invited the Pope to New Zealand to visit him at his royal courts at Tūrangawaewae Marae. Many world leaders have done so including Queen Elizabeth II, President Nelson Mandela and the Prince of Wales.
The King, whilst being in Rome, has visited the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and the Sistine Chapel. He was also hosted by the Australian Ambassador to the Holy See Melissa Hitchman for the formal luncheon also attended by the Australian Deputy Head of Mission Alison Edye, the Dean of the Diplomatic Corp Ambassador George Poulides of the Republic of Cyprus, the New Zealand Ambassador to the Holy See Nigel Fyfe and the NZ Ambassador to Italy AnthonySimpson.
His Majesty Kiingi Tuheitia will travel to Monte Cassino and then onto Florence before returning back to Aotearoa.
Jade Hohaia (Press Secretary to the King’s office)
Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org
Centre for Research & Development
P.O Box 63
All photographs are courtesy of the Kiingitanga and it's Office