Three years and a sterling fundraising effort, after their former building was closed and condemned by the Westland District Council due to earthquake safety concerns the new Westland Hokitika RSA was officially opened and rededicated at a dawn ceremony held on Saturday 26 February led by RSA Chaplain and Upoko rūnanga Pīhopa Richard Wallace.

We have had a long relationship with the RSA who had been kaitiaki of a plaque honoring two brothers who left Mahitahi to fight in WWI, never to return. The plaque was returned to us and now features as part of our memorial window in our whare Kaipō, where we hold our Annual ANZAC Day Service. [Read more…]

The day dawned overcast with the threat of rain. Fortunately, the rain did not eventuate and we had a full house at our service, including a bus load of Australian tourists, who had learned about our service from one of the local cafés.

The service, led jointly by Venerable Richard Wallace, QSM and Father Michael Mahoney, included letters from West Coast ANZACs giving a poignant account of their experiences in their own words. After the acts of remembrance poppies were laid at our commemorative window before everyone headed outdoors for the wreath-laying ceremony at our flagpole Te Hokowhitu a Tū and included a wreath laid by local police. [Read more…]

Anton Overy was honoured to visit Gallipoli last year with his maternal grandfather, the place where his great Uncle Jack Bannister and several other Kāti Māhaki men served. The great-great-grandson of Margaret Bannister, Anton descends from armed forces stock.

His father Edward and grandmother Wendy both served in the Royal New Zealand Navy and his great-grandfather Stanley James Sampson, served in the Māori Battalion Company D during WWII. [Read more…]

More than 90 people gathered in our whare tīpuna, Kaipō to commemorate those who served and fought for our country. The service, led jointly by Venerable Richard Wallace, QSM and Father Michael Mahoney, included a presentation collated by Paul Madgwick introducing us to the 11 young Kāti Māhaki ki Makaawhio men who were enlisted to fight in the First World War. These included, three Katau brothers, two te Koeti, four Bannisters and two Kini (who signed up in Wairewa).

Interspersed with music of the time and historical footage, it was a poignant reminder of our tīpuna, who were so young and the toll that World War I took on our whānau, hapū and community. [Read more…]