Hundreds travel to mourn Māori Battalion veteran Nolan Raihania

By Tamati Tiananga

Today hundreds of people traveled to Pakirikiri Marae in Tokomaru Bay to pay tribute to the 28 Maori Battalion - C Company veteran Nolan Raihania. To many he worked tirelessly attending many gathering to represent the returned serviceman, but to his people he was a strong advocate in nurturing future leaders.  

The NZ Red Ensign cloaked Nolan Raihania’s coffin.  

Renata Kururangi, whānau spokesperson says, "With that being said, they went to war under the flag of Queen Victoria. However today things have changed to the flag we now acknowledge. But a lot of blood was shed for that particular flag that our elders went to war for." 

Dr Wayne Ngata says Raihania was an icon among his people and to all generations.  

Tākuta Wayne Ngata, (Te Aitanga a Hauiti, Ngāti Ira, Ngāti Porou) says, "Uncle Nolan was a humble man, he was a great thinker, he was our representative, he would travel with many other great elders. This was something unfamiliar to the young. That was their generation, the 28 Battalion."

Walton Walker of the Te Tairawhiti’s 28 Māori Battalion C Company memorial house says a mere will remain with the coffin of the late Nolan Raihania for the full duration of tangihanga.

Walton Walker Deputy Charmain, 28th Māori Battalion Museum says, "The name of the mere is Ngā Tama Toa. This was given by Monty Soutar. It was at Monty's request that this would be laid on top of him for this time. This was given to Monty when he completed his book called Ngā Tama Toa."

Harawira Craig Pearless (Te Tairāwhiti, Ngāti Kahungunu) says, "Let me take the words from a song by Tuini (Tuini Ngawai) here harry whooping cough, Noel (Nolan) Raihania is just behind you. We turn to look at Jim Tawhai, please call a taxi cab to fetch them. They have all passed, he has gone to the other side to be with Tuini and the many from Te Muriwai o Ngai Ta Manuhiri, Te Whanau a Ruataupare o Te ao Tawarirangi."

Dr Wayne Ngata adds Raihania was also known for his singing attributes.

On Tuesday the burial will take place, tomorrow they are expecting visitors from around the country.