National | 28th Māori Battalion

500 Māori Battalion medals still with NZDF

The lawyer who has been on a years long mission to reunite whānau Māori with missing WWII medals of their tūpuna is urging people to consult a list of soldiers yet to receive their war medals.

David Stone says there are as many as 500 uncollected medals from the 28th Māori Battalion, one of Aotearoa's most decorated contingents from the war effort.

Almost 3600 soldiers served in the battlefields of Greece, Crete, North Africa and Italy in fierce battles where more than 600 were killed.

Upon being awarded medals, recipients had to request the medals were posted, but the defence force concedes as many as 1 in 10 were shipped to the wrong addresses.

Stone has compiled a database of a number of the soldiers who have medals awaiting collections, which details their names and service numbers; he says all whānau need to do is provide proof of familial link to the servicemen, such as birth certificates.

"For example, if the soldier is your father, your birth certificate or a marriage certificate will list both your parents. Thus proving your link to the soldier.

"If the soldier is your grandfather on your mother's side you will need to produce your birth or marriage certificate and your mother's birth, death or marriage certificate."

Whānau with the requisite documents can fill out the NZDF request form available here.

The NZDF says if multiple people apply for the medals they will be awarded to the closest whānau link.

Additional details on the medal collection process can be found here on the NZDF website.