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Hemi Maaka


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Hemi Maaka


Background

A labourer from Northland, Hemi Maaka was a widower before he left for the war. His family had already suffered a great loss but the coming of war was certain to see this sorrow deepen. Heading off to war with the Maori Contingent, Maaka was posted to the Western Front on the 12th of June 1917.

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The Unofficial Journal

Prevalent in the Pioneer Battalion, along with many others, this journal was a lifeblood of the Division. Containing stories, poems, and assorted articles, this smorgasbord became a centre of army correspondence and entertainment.

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Off to war


'a member of the fierce and proud Pioneer Battalion'

Off to war


'a member of the fierce and proud Pioneer Battalion'

Off to War

He took part in the Battle of Passchendaele and knew firsthand the horrors of modern warfare, seeing the tragic and vain loss of life amidst the mud, rats and gas that made the Western Front resemble some form of hell. As a member of the fierce and proud Pioneer Battalion, the precursor to the Maori Battalion, Maaka served side by side with other Maori volunteers and was surely at home with the companionship of men of his own culture.

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'Hurrah for the King!'

Members of the Maori contingent in the New Zealand camp at Zeitoun before their departure.

During the brutal advance of the German Kaiserschlact spring offensive in 1918, Maaka was wounded in battle and rushed from the lines. He was then transported back to England where he fought for his life against the sickness that had fell upon him as a result of his wounds. The reports sent home warned that he was, 'still dang ill'. To make matters worse, his father, Hori Maaka, had died while he was away. On August the 31st, 1919, Maaka died. He’d seen the end of the Great War but was denied the chance to live in the peace in its wake. His family had been broken by tragedy after tragedy and Hemi Maaka’s passing was surely a devastating loss.

Here lies Private Maaka

31st August 1919 – age 29.

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On the wall at the Auckland War Memorial Museum

World War 1 Hall of Memories

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New Page


New Page


 Auckland War Memorial

Auckland War Memorial

Lay a Poppy for Hemi

Hemi's wounds may have taken him, yet his memory will live on forever. The amazing Online Cenotaph tool has a page specifically for Hemi, where you can leave a poppy on his tombstone to commemorate his service to New Zealand.

Imagine you are Hemi, and have just survived the Bellevue Offensive. Write us a diary entry about your experience. What was it like to fight in the freezing mud? How did it feel to see your friends from New Zealand struggling to survive? We need your voice.

 

 

 

Interaction


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Imagine you are Hemi Maaka, lying in a hospital bed after your father has died. Write a diary entry about your experience.

#passion4passchendaele


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