Haane Te Rauawa Manahi

Haane Te Rauawa Manahi

Another Maori Victoria Cross? The case of Haane Manahi

During the Battle of Takrouna in Tunisia in April 1943, Lance Sergeant Haane Manahi of Te Arawa led a small band of Māori soldiers up a 300-m-high rocky outcrop. Under mortar and machine-gun fire, they captured a stronghold held by more than 300 Italian and German troops. The act was described by Lieutenant General Sir Brian Horrocks as ‘the most gallant feat of arms I witnessed in the course of the war’. While a field-marshal and three generals recommended Manahi for the Victoria Cross (VC), this recommendation was changed, and a Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) was awarded instead. It is not known who made this decision, or why.

Manahi died in a car crash in 1986. In late 2005 Te Arawa and the Returned and Services' Association sought the Waitangi Tribunal’s support for moves to award Manahi the VC. Te Arawa argued that their requests to uphold the original VC recommendation had not been handled adequately by the New Zealand government, which had thereby breached the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

In 2006 a bid to have the VC awarded posthumously was taken to Buckingham Palace by the Minister of Defence, Phil Goff. After careful consideration, the request was turned down by the Queen, who followed King George’s 1949 decision that no further awards from the Second World War should be considered. In October 2006, it was announced that Buckingham Palace had agreed to posthumously honour Haane Manahi, but not with a VC.

After consultation with the Manahi VC Committee and Te Arawa, it was decided that the award should be inspired by the famous line, 'For God! For King! And for Country!' from the marching song of 28 (Maori) Battalion. ‘For God’ was marked by the presentation of an altar cloth for Saint Faith’s Church, near Manahi’s burial place. A letter from the Queen acknowledging Manahi’s bravery represented ‘For King’, and a sword presented to Te Arawa by the Queen acknowledged ‘For Country’.

The Duke of York, representing the Queen, presented the award to representatives of Te Arawa and the Manahi family at a ceremony at Te Papaiouru Marae, Ohinemutu on 17 March 2007.

Te Arawa presented the sword to the Chief of Defence Force (CDF), Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae, along with a patu in memory of Haane Manahi. The sword is displayed in the office of the CDF, while the patu is worn on appropriate occasions by the CDF. These gifts represent a tangible link between Haane Manahi, the Queen, Te Arawa and all serving members of the Defence Force.

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Posted: 06 May 2014

In the grand tradition of his Tupuna's from a linage bestowed with bravery I refer to my uncle haane's grand-uncle Tuhera Kiriona who was determined to joined the armed forces in WW1 only tobe rejected whilst having journeyed to Featherston from Otaki over the Rimutakas by horse-back to enlist. Unpertubed he stowed away on a ship bound for Australia and joined the 9th Light Horse Brigade in Adelaide 1916-1918 succumbing to illness in Palestine and buried in Ramelah cemetery in Palestine. The "irony of the situation" is that he (Tuhera)befriended a German migrant after he landed in Adelaide and together enlisted and left together to fight through out the middle east.

Was at the charge of the light horse brigade "Beersheba" oct 31 1917. The original 800 men of the 4th-12th light horse regiment galloped at full tilt across open ground for several kilometers to close down the firing angles of the Turkish machine-guns and artillery. Led by General Harry Chauvel they were able to free Beersheba from the Turkish Army.

Haere e raua Tama Haere
Haere nga mate Haere Haere Haere
Haere ki nga tipuna, Kua riro ki te po
Ki te po uri uri te po tangotango te po hekeheke.
Kua mau ki a koe te kakahu taratara
No reira e raua tama Haere haere haere.

Noho ora mai

Turanga Baker
Te Arawa/Ngati Raukawa/Toarangatira/Te Atiawa/ngati Huia.