National | 28th Māori Battalion

C Company ready to march again this Anzac Day

Epineha 'Pine' Ratapu is 97 years old and comes from Tokomaru Bay in the East Coast.  Every ANZAC day he is excited to once again march on parade with other soldiers as the sole survivor of the Māori Battalion's C Company.

There is excitement in the Ratapu household today, as Pine prepares to march on parade once again.

"I believe that if [everyone] had the same principles I've got I think it might be a different world altogether. That's the way I feel," he says.

Ratapu's daughter Chrissy Riddell says, "He loves putting on his jacket, his 28th Māori Battalion [jacket] and his beautiful hat, he loves his hat.  When he puts his medals on it gives him a bit of ihi, he's proud and so are we."

Ratapu still remembers those who influenced him most, such as the great Colonel Arapeta Awatere.

"Awatere, our colonel was about the best we had, although we had quiet a few colonels, but he was the best of the lot.  He never put us on charge, if you were in trouble he'd take you around the back," Ratapu says.

Despite his years, Ratapu believes he awaits a higher calling.

"Even now and again I have a little sleep and close my eyes to myself, have a little tangi.  Wish I would hurry up and go there but I can't because he (God) says 'your job is not finished yet'."

Pine's great-great-granddaughter will deliver a speech about him at this years ANZAC dawn ceremony in Masterton.