MAORI

Poroporoaki ki a William Rātahi Pitman

Tuesday 26 June 2012, 12:56PM
By Pita Sharples
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E haruru ana te whenua, e ngunguru ana te iwi i te hinganga o te kauri tū teitei o te Wao Nui a Tāne!

E te rangatira o te Tai Tokerau, o te Ope Keri Kapia o te Rōpū Rua Tekau ma Waru, e te uri o Patuharakeke o Ngāti Wai, o Ngati Pūkenga, Takoto mai! Takoto mai! Takoto mai!

Ka haere taitama koe ki tawahi tū ai ki te mura o te ahi, ki te pae o te riri, ka toa koe!

Ka hoki mai koe ki te wa kāinga, ka eke koe ki te taumata o te kaumātua, ināianei kua mate koe! Aue te tangi!

Ko koe te Tumuaki-a-Motu o te Rōpū Rua Tekau ma Waru i mua, te pakeke o ngā morehu hoia Māori o te Pakanga Tuarua o te Ao. Na koutou ko o hoa te ingoa o te iwi Māori i whakarewa ki runga ki te rangi, kia mohio ai te ao, ko wai tātou. No reira kei te mihi tonu, kei te mihi tonu atu ki a koutou.

Ko koe te pou toko manawa o to whānau, kei te tangi tahi tātou ko te iwi whānui ki a koutou i tēnei wa. Takoto mai koe i te poho o to whānau, i runga i te marae o Ngunguru, kia tangihia e te motu. Moe mai rā, moe mai rā, moe mai rā.

Māori Affairs Minister Dr Pita Sharples acknowledged with great sadness the death of William Rātahi Pitman, the former National President of the 28 (Māori) Battalion Association. He was 94 years old.

“Bill Pitman was one of four brothers who enlisted with the Māori Battalion – and another brother fought in the Navy during World War Two,” said Dr Sharples.

“He was 22 when he left for North Africa as part of the fifth reinforcement. He fought in the desert campaigns and in Italy, where the Māori Battalion earned a fearsome reputation that is a source of pride to New Zealanders today.

“On his return from war he worked on farms, for the Power Board, for Northern Steel, as a crane driver.

“In 2010 he was National President of the Māori Battalion Association, the leader of a force depleted by age and ill health. There are now only 27 veterans surviving, and only two from ‘A’ Company, the so-called Gumdiggers from North Auckland.

“So Bill’s loss is a serious blow to the Association, and to Māori people and all New Zealanders who cherish their memory.

“But most of all, his passing will be felt by Bill’s family, and our thoughts go out to the whānau.