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Māori Battalion’s legacy to be preserved

Hekia Parata


Māori Battalion’s legacy to be preserved

The history of the legendary 28th Māori Battalion will be further preserved as part of a project to record the histories of the Battalion’s A, B and D companies, says Education Minister Hekia Parata.

“In 2008, historian Dr Monty Soutar published the history of C Company in the award winning book, Ngā Tama Toa: The Price of Citizenship,” Ms Parata says. “To ensure the survival of the 28th Māori Battalion’s history, the Ministry of Education is contributing $700,000 to compile and preserve the histories of the Battalion’s other A, B and D Companies.”

The project will also lead to new learning resources for school students – particularly those studying social studies and history.

The Ministry of Education and Ministry for Culture and Heritage will partner with the Ngārimu VC and 28th (Māori) Battalion Memorial Scholarship Fund Board on the project.

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage is contributing $400,000 in kind, including support for three historians to undertake the project. Dr Soutar will act as a mentor for the history fellows. The Board is also contributing $50,000 per company district to gather up source material for the histories.

The project team is meeting with communities to identify a coordinating body for each company district. Each body will seek out stories and memorabilia at a local level, help to appoint a historian and guide the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, and the historian, throughout the project.

“Whānau, hapū and iwi are crucial to the project’s success as they hold the stories, letters, photos and records that will breathe life and colour into the histories,” Ms Parata says.

“This investment will build a more comprehensive record of our past decisions as a country. It will be invaluable to surviving veterans and their families, the wider public and tomorrow’s young New Zealanders.”

Editor's notes:

The history fellowships will be based at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

This will follow on from Phase 1 of the project, currently underway, to gather together archives held by whānau across the A, B and D company districts.

Ngā Tama Toa: The Price of Citizenship awards (all in 2009) include;

• NZ Society of Authors Best First Book Award Non-Fiction Category

• Winner of Ngā Kupu Ora History Book Award

• Shortlisted for Nielsen BookData New Zealand Booksellers' Choice Award

Finalist in the Best Non-Fiction category of the Montana Book Awards

For more information, please visit: http://www.minedu.govt.nz/NZEducation/EducationPolicies/MaoriEducation/Initiatives/NgarimuVCAnd28thBattalionMemorialFund.aspx

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