New chief of Defence Force receives Haane Manahi Sword

The new Chief of Defence Force, Air Marshal Kevin Short was presented with the Te Arawa Sword of Gallantry for Haane Manahi.

The sword is presented to each Defence Force chief for the duration of their tenure.

Every three years Te Arawa and the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) unite to welcome in the military's new leader.

Aaron Morrison, culture advisor to the NZDF says “We have a new Commander-in-Chief for the New Zealand Defence Force and this sets him up for an extremely long and hard journey, but he always knows in the back of his head that Te Arawa and the people are behind him.” 

The Te Arawa Sword of Gallantry for war hero Sergeant Haane Manahi was presented to his whānau in 2007.

The sword is returned to the family at the conclusion of the Defence Force chief's term and is presented to their replacement at the beginning of their term.

Wiremu Manahi, on behalf of the family and Te Arawa says, “It's been a great honour and [we are] wishing him all the best in looking after our taonga.” 

The new Defence Force chief, Air Marshal Kevin Short says, “The fact that the Queen gave that sword in honour of his bravery and leadership it means so much to me and the chief of the Defence Force.” 

Lance Sergeant Manahi died in 1986, at which time the NZ Returned Services Association and the New Zealand government approached Queen Elizabeth II requesting his recommendation for the VC to be reconsidered.

Instead the Queen presented his family with the unique sword to inspire the next generation.

“Wouldn't it be really cool if somebody from Te Arawa eventually became the chief of Defence Force and the challenge is both for our wāhine toa and our tāne toa” says Morrison.

Lance Sergent Manawa was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal in 1943, with this year marking the 75th anniversary.