Manutuke Marae, Maori Battalion Hall

Memorial plaque Memorial gates Memorial gates Memorial gates WWI Roll of Honour WWII Roll of Honour Roll of Honour

Just before the First World War, the wharenui Te Poho o Hinehou was moved to Manutuke Marae, where it was converted into a dining hall. Either during the Second World War or immediately afterwards it was renamed Maori Battalion Hall. This became the focal point for Rongowhakaata Anzac Day services.

Three rolls of honour are displayed inside the hall. The First World War roll of honour (‘Rarangi Onga Hoia Maori O Te Ropu O Turanga’) lists 13 Māori soldiers from the Gisborne area who were killed in action and 89 who also served. The Second World War roll of honour (‘Te Rarangi Ingoa Hoia Te Ropu O Manutuke’) lists nine servicemen from the Manutuke area who were killed in action and 48 who also served. The third roll of honour (‘Te Rarangi Ingoa Hoia O Te Ropu O Turanga’) lists a total of 96 men from the Gisborne area who served in J Force, K Force, Malaya/Borneo or Vietnam.

A carved memorial flagpole stands in front of the hall. The marble tablet on the pedestal is inscribed:

“He Aroha Ki Nga Uri / o Nga Tipuna nei / Ruapani / Rongowhakaata / Kahungunu / Tamanuhiri / Tu-Matuenga / Mahaki / carved 1980 / dedicated 25.4.81.”

There is also set of war memorial gates outside Toko Toru Tapu church, next door to the marae. The famous carved church, the fourth church on the site, was consecrated on 25 October 1914. The handsome four-pillar gates at the entrance were erected after the Second World War in honour of eight local men who had given their lives: Private D.T. Pohatu (R. D. Pohatu), Private D.T. Swann, Able Seaman I. Pardoe, Sergeant A. S. Nepia, [Flight] Sergeant A.W. Doreen, Sergeant M.K. Ria, Private T. Sullivan and Private U.R. Te Kani.

See: Manutuku Tokotoru Tapu Church Centennial, Gisborne, 1963, p. 10; Richard Pamatatau, ‘East Coast Buildings’, Heritage New Zealand, no. 92, Autumn 2004, pp. 22-6; ‘Maori Memorial: Members of Air Force’, NZ Herald, 11/12/1945, p. 6.

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