Nik Randle (Manihera/Paipeta whānau) along with his partner Kim Hotop, recently returned from a lengthy trip overseas that included Turkey, Spain and India.

While away Nik and Kim spent time visiting the Gallipoli Battlefields National Park to further Nik’s research into the men from Rāpaki who served at Gallipoli in WW1.

As the offensive for Chunuk Bair began during early August 1915, Nik’s great-uncle, Waitere Manihera was killed in action, at the same time another great-uncle, Harry Paipeta was wounded.

Nik has uncovered a personal account from Harry Paipeta where he tells how the two men were side-by-side as they climbed out of a Turkish trench. In his prior research Nik located the specific area where this occurred, where he recited karakia and performed haka.

Waitere Manihera (23) is remembered on the New Zealand (NZ) monument at Chunuk Bair, but Nik’s research points to him being buried on the battlefield by his comrades the morning after he fell.

On the first day of their Gallipoli visit, Nik and Kim visited many key ANZAC battle sites and urupā, absorbing all the information given to them by their renowned local guide. Of particular interest were some of the human stories.

The following morning Nik went back to the high grounds of Chunuk Bair and walked the trails and ridges down to the beach at ANZAC Cove. Once there he placed kōhatu pebbles (brought from Rāpaki) in the water and gathered some to bring home, where they are to be placed in the water at Rāpaki beach. He describes this as a simple gesture to symbolise the unity of two distant lands separated by the same ocean.

The visit to Gallipoli was also a special time for Kim as her grandfather had been wounded in action at the same time as he served in the Otago Mounted Rifles. After the war he returned to NZ, settling on a farm at Moeraki.

During the Chunuk Bair offensive Māori Contingent soldiers were assigned to join the Otago and Wellington Mounted Rifle units, where Māori and Pākehā fought side by side.

Being at the Gallipoli Battlefields was the fulfilment of a goal for Nik and a fitting conclusion to many years of research. He says, although it was a satisfying experience it was filled with mixed emotions, particularly the sorrowful reflections regarding the frivolous waste of lives and futures as a result of war.

Nick beside the NZ monument at Chunuk Bair.

Nick beside the NZ monument at Chunuk Bair.

Visiting Anzac Cove.

Visiting Anzac Cove.