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One Last Post For The Maori Battalion

One Last Post For The Maori Battalion

They came with their medals and their whanau, to stand once more with the men they fought beside, and to remember the soldiers who had passed away.

When the 28 Maori Battalion held their national reunion in April this year - the Year of the Veteran - it held extra-special significance for the men.

Maori Television cameras were there to capture the emotions, stories and drama of these brave and renowned World War 2 soldiers as they met for what is likely to be one of their last large-scale reunions.

The result - a fully-subtitled documentary called 28 - RUA TEKAU MA WARU - screens on Maori Television on Wednesday July 5 2006 at 8.30 PM.

More than 600 people attended the gathering at Omapere, Hokianga, when the A Company, known as The Gumdiggers, played host to the three other companies - B Company (The Pennydivers), C Company (The Cowboys) and D Company (The Walkabouts).

For A Company veteran Tamati Paraone - one of the last of the 39'ers - this was to be a particularly emotional event - the final reunion he would organise as National President of the 28 Battalion.

28 - RUA TEKAU MA WARU captures the fighting spirit and camaraderie of these elderly heroes, and Paraone's last days in the role he has made his own.

Serving soldiers, more used to be on the firing range, work as volunteers during the weekend, seeing it as an honour to look after the needs of these unique heroes. Unlike other battalions, the men of the 28 Â Battalion went to war on a completely voluntary basis and with no formal training to begin with.

28 - RUA TEKAU MA WARU looks to the future, as well as the past. With numbers dwindling each year, what will happen when the last of these men has gone? What is the legacy of the battalion and how can it be protected?

Follow the last stand of the 28n Maori Battalion in 28 - RUA TEKAU MA WARU on Maori Television on Wednesday July 5 2006 at 8.30 PM.


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