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Hāmi Grace Great War Story

Video file

The video for this story about First World War soldier Hāmi Grace screened on TV3 News on 18 April 2015.

An old boy of Wellington College, Thomas (Hāmi) Marshall Percy Grace of Ngāti Tūwharetoa was a talented sportsman. He played rugby for the New Zealand Māori teams that toured New Zealand in 1911 and Australia in 1913.  He was also a talented cricketer, playing first-class cricket for Wellington.

When war was declared in early August 1914 the 24-year old Grace was working as a clerk in the head office of the Post and Telegraph Department in Wellington. While most Māori servicemen enlisted in the Maori Contingent (later the Pioneer Battalion), Grace enlisted in the Wellington Regiment. He sailed with the Main Body two months later and landed at Anzac Cove with the Wellington Battalion in late April 1915.

A noted marksman, he was an effective sniper at Gallipoli and his all-round talents soon saw him mentioned in despatches and promoted to Second Lieutenant. At the beginning of June the Wellingtons took over Courtney’s Post at the head of Monash Gully. Turkish snipers were picking off as many as 20 men a day moving up and down the gully. Grace, was placed in charge of a team of snipers and observers. Working in pairs, these men methodically noted subtle changes in the enemy lines that suggested the presence of snipers. On 2 June, Lieutenant-Colonel William Malone noted in his diary: ‘Today we bagged two of the snipers and have quite altered the atmosphere.’ Within a few weeks, traffic in the valley was unimpeded, at least by day. Australian historian Charles Bean wrote that:

Grace’s snipers, posted throughout the valley, placed a barrier as impenetrable as any earthwork between the traffic in Monash Valley and the Turks whose trenches overlooked it. Thenceforward, provided the snipers were first warned, even a convoy of mules could go to the supply depot near the head of the gully at midday without a shot being fired at it.

Grace and Malone, his commanding officer, were both killed on Chunuk Bair on 8 August 1915. 

Primary sources

Newspapers (PapersPast)

Further information


Video: TV3 MediaWorks and AC Productions. See: full video credits here (pdf)

Research and scripts: Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Images, historic video and further sources: Archives New Zealand and National Library of New Zealand.

How to cite this page

Hāmi Grace Great War Story, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated