This week I have been looking through my copy of Ngā Tama Toa: The Price of Citizenship, the story of the Maori Battalion C Company 1939-1945 in WWII. My koro on my mothers side (Pāpā) Ngarua “Bunny” Yates was in the Maori Battalion C Company (from Gisborne). During the war he was known as Wi Kaipuke. In a poignant but heart-wrenching twist, I was living in Italy when Pāpā died here in New Zealand.
Ko Te Arawa te waka
Ko Ngongotaha, ko Pukeroaoruawhata ngā maunga
Ko Te Awahou, ko te Utuhina ngā awa
Rotoruanui a Kahumatamomoe to moana
Ko Ngāti Rangiwewehi, Ngāti Whakaue ngā iwi
Ko Tarimano, ko Tunohopu, ko Turipuki,ko Owhata, ko Te-Papa-i-Ouru ngā marae
Some of Pāpā’s photos were selected for inclusion in Ngā Tama Toa, by Monty Soutar. The pics below include those in the book, and more. I’ll start with a favorite shot, one that was re-printed in the book. It shows the wives performing a ‘spontaneous’ waiata for their tane in Gisborne. The description names everyone and describes how the waiata came about. I can only imagine the energy and the aroha that was the essence of this demonstration. Visually I love the difference in length and pattern of each of the piupiu skirts. I have highlighted Nana and Papa with arrows throughout the pics.
Men marching through Turanga-nui-ā-Kiwa, Gisborne:
The Book (below) with the note from Mum when she gave the book to us:
During the war:
And lastly, home with the whanau. Pāpā is confidently carrying David Erami, and Nana is carrying the inquisitive looking pēpi, Dixie. In the pram is Orsogna, who was born during the war, and named after the Italian post, Orsogna. To me these photos are so fascinating.