C Company descendants support A Company memorial house

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

The Waitangi National Trust is looking to build a memorial house for the 28th Māori Battalion at Waitangi.  However, not all tribes support the idea.

Chairman of Ngā Taonga a Ngā Tama Toa Trust Walton Walker says the house is “for our children and generations to come to know who their elders were and the reason why they went to war.”

The book 'Ngā Tama Toa - Te Price of Citizenship' launched in 2008.  Ngā Taonga o Ngā Tama Toa Trust then turned to erect the memorial house, a process which took over six years.

Walker says, “It was the fathers who agreed to these initiatives, if it wasn't for them there wouldn't be a book, there wouldn't be a memorial house.”

He says the house honours the wishes of the men who fought in the war and stands as a symbolic memorial for the descendants of C Company.

 “If they knew that their taonga were being requested to go to Waitangi they would turn in their graves,” says Walker.

The Waitangi National Trust put the idea forward to the Ngā Taonga a Tama Toa trust to establish a memorial house for all companies of the 28th Māori Battalion.

“The descendants and the board of C Company support the establishment of a memorial house for A Company.  If a memorial house for the 28th Māori Battalion is to be established (at Waitangi), we will not allow the presence of C Company within it,” says Walker.

The Waitangi National Trust turned down a request from Te Kāea for comment on the matter.

For the C Company soldiers who paid the price of citizenship, their heirlooms remain in the custodianship of their descendants.