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Recognition from Queen for Manahi

‘God, King and Country’ recognition from Queen for Manahi

"The Government, Te Arawa people and the Manahi VC Committee have reached agreement with Buckingham Palace over a suitable way of honouring the gallantry of the late Lance Sergeant Haane Manahi", Defence Minister Phil Goff said today.

"In May this year I visited the Palace in London together with representatives of Te Arawa and the Manahi VC Committee to present a case for reconsidering the award of a Victoria Cross to Haane Manahi for his actions at Takrouna Ridge in North Africa in 1943.

"Our submission reflected our shared views that the extraordinary courage shown by Sergeant Manahi should, as was recommended by all his field commanders, have been recognised by the award of a Victoria Cross. The original recommendation was amended, in London in 1943, by persons unknown to a Distinguished Conduct Medal.

“In responding to the submission, the Palace reiterated Her Majesty’s great admiration for the remarkable bravery of Lance Sergeant Manahi, and noted that the reports of witnesses and commanders at the time are evidence that a recommendation for the award of the Victoria Cross was by no means unjustified.

"The Palace has explained, however, that The Queen places great importance upon the decision of her father, King George VI in 1949 that no further awards for World War II should be considered. Accordingly, The Queen has again determined that it would not be right to alter the award of the Distinguished Conduct Medal to Lance Sergeant Manahi after the lapse of such a long period of time.

"In communicating her view, however, the Palace expressed The Queen’s wish that careful thought be given to alternative ways in which further recognition could be given to the gallantry of Lance Sergeant Manahi, and indicated that The Queen would be pleased to be personally associated with it.

"All parties appreciate the close personal consideration given to the submission by The Queen. We accept and respect Her decision regarding the award of the Victoria Cross, and are honoured by Her desire to extend a personal token to Te Arawa, recognising the gallantry of Lance Sergeant Manahi.

"Accordingly, the government has been working with Te Arawa, the Manahi VC Committee and the Palace on a suitable form of alternative recognition for Lance Sergeant Manahi. The form of that recognition, as agreed between all parties, has been inspired by the famous refrain, 'for God! for King! and for Country!' from the marching song of the 28th (Maori) Battalion.

" ‘For God’ will be marked by the presentation of an altar cloth, for Saint Faith's Church, which faces the Tamatekapua Marae, Ohinemutu Village, Rotorua. Haane Manahi is buried in the military cemetery adjacent to Saint Faith's, known as Muruika, with fellow Te Arawa soldiers including those he served with in the 28th (Maori) Battalion.

" ‘For King’ will take the form of a letter from The Queen, acknowledging the gallantry of Haane Manahi, to be framed and hung in the Tamatekapua Meeting House alongside photos of Haane Manahi and The Queen.

" ‘For Country’ will be represented by a sword to be gifted on permanent loan to Te Arawa by The Queen. Te Arawa will in turn present the sword to the Chief of Defence Force along with a patu in memory of Haane Manahi. The sword will be displayed in the office of the Chief of Defence Force. The patu will be worn, on appropriate occasions as part of the dress of the Chief of Defence Force. These gifts will be a tangible link between Haane Manahi, The Queen, Te Arawa and all serving members of the Defence Force.

“The Queen has expressed Her gratitude for the sensitive and imaginative manner with which Her offer of recognition has been handled.

"There is still much to be done in terms of determining the time and nature of the presentation to Te Arawa of these items but I am delighted that agreement has been reached on a suitable way to honour the bravery and the memory of Haane Manahi", Mr Goff said.


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