New Zealand is working to obtain medals in legitimate homes of up to 500 people from the Maori battalion of the country who have not been properly recognized for service.
The Maori The battalion, also known as the “28th”, was one of New Zealand’s most decorated units during World War II, fighting in Italy, Egypt, Crete and North Africa, but many of those who served never received medals.
This is the day of Anzac, when Australians and New Zealanders honor the memory of those who died during the First and Second World Warsthe defense forces are in the midst of renewed efforts to reconcile these unclaimed medals with the whānau (families) of those who served.
The project is the result of many years of work by historian David Stone, who has made great efforts to reunite Māori servicemen and their families with medals.
“It is time to present these medals,” said Sir Robert Gillis, the last living member of the battalion. Gillis said his medals reminded him of friends in the battalion and always hung on coats.
According to the New Zealand Defense Forces, after the war the government’s policy was that ex-servicemen claim medals, which are then sent to them by mail. Many did not apply, and some surviving Maori battalion families did not have official documents so that their family ties to those who served were legally recognized.
Army Chief Major General John Boswell earlier this month announced that defense forces would work to unite the medals with their owners.
“This is a significant way to honor the service and sacrifice of those 28-year-old soldiers [Māori] Battalion. It is also an opportunity to recognize mana [prestige and power] they brought to themselves, their families, the New Zealand Army and New Zealand ”.
Of the 3,600 people who served in the 28th Maori Battalion in World War II, 649 were killed or killed during active service. The Maori also fought in World War I in another regiment known as the New Zealand Pioneer Maori Battalion. They became known for performing haka (war dance) before the battle, and by 1918 had served 2,800 Maori. However, many of them did not receive proper recognition for their service. According to the Imperial Military Museum, Maori were largely excluded from the ballot papers for land allocation and training of returning soldiers.