Photos of Māori WW1 veterans wanted

Images of Māori First World War servicemen are wanted for inclusion in an authoritative history book on the Great War due for publication in 2017.

Whitiki: Māori in the First World War is one in a series of books on New Zealand and the First World War.

The book is being produced by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Massey University, the New Zealand Defence Force and the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association.

Dr Monty Soutar is in his third year of research for this new book.

He says, “When I began my research I didn’t think there would be much material available after one hundred years.

I was surprised and thrilled to find some families still hold diaries, letters and photographs of loved ones who served in the Great War.

My own grandfather was in the Pioneers, but I knew nothing about what his unit did overseas and it’s been a fascinating journey for me.

The book is already shaping up to be quite a tāonga and when people read it they will learn many fascinating things about the Māori contribution to the war effort.”

Some 2,500 Māori and Pacific Island people served overseas and Soutar wants to include as many of their images in the book as can be found.

“It may end up that only a few hundred can be located, but its well worth seeking them out so we can remember them for what they did,” says Soutar.

People with suitable photos are asked to scan them at a minimum of 300 dpi and provide details of the serviceman, including where they are from.

Send the scan and the information to the 28th MāoriBattalion website www.28maoribattalion.org.nz or to monty.soutar@mch.govt,nz.