National | 28th Māori Battalion

28th Māori Battalion Company D author highlights stark differences

Ex-serviceman and historian Harawira Pearless is penning the first book regarding the 28th Māori Battalion's Delta Company. He says the tribal and also geographic differences compared to the other Companies is vast.

The sons of Ngāi Tahu who fought for each other is the focus of a new book by author Pearless.

“These men were mutton bird and pigeon hunters. They lived near the sea. They were strong people from whalers and hunters,” he says.

For the last eight months, Pearless has been recording stories from whanau of soldiers of D Company, documenting their major battles, actions, and engagements during World War II.

“They were fearless soldiers. Many of the ancestors from that platoon received medals for bravery, such as Ihaia Weepu from Te Arahura, Haki Tainui from Te Wairewa and Wiremu McCray also from Te Wairewa. They fought in many battles, including Greece, Crete, Egypt and Italy.”

Another stark difference Pearless highlights are the broad geographic spread of D Company compared to their North Island counterparts.

“The 18th platoon of D Company came from the South Island. Company D is made up of 82 percent of the country's geographical area.”

D Company was the only company to have Non-Māori soldiers among their ranks.

“Soldiers hailed from Samoa, Tonga, Rarotonga, Niue, Moriori and Tāhiti. There was a Pikau-Shawnee Indian from South America.”

The book is expected to be completed by May next year.