Minister pays tribute to Charlie Petera - Media Statement 13 June 2016
E te tamaiti o Te Hokowhitu-a-Tū, e te rangatira o Ngāti Kurī, haere, haere, haere atu rā.
Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell pays homage to the passing of Charlie Petera, the last survivor of the 28th Māori Battalion A Company. Mr Petera passed away on Saturday at his home in Ngataki in Northland at the age of 92.
Mr Flavell says Mr Petera’s passing is a loss not just to Māori but to the nation as a whole.
“Charlie Petera and the Māori Battalion played a role of significant importance in our history. Not just for their heroic efforts on the battlegrounds of Europe but for how they helped shift attitudes back here in Aotearoa-New Zealand.
“The fact that the Māori Battalion was a voluntary unit and that its soldiers received more individual bravery decorations than any other New Zealand battalion, speaks to the courage and mana of the men involved.
“In the words of Charlie Petera: ‘war is history, and it needs to be told – it enriches our country’,” Mr Flavell says.
Mr Petera fought during World War II in North Africa and Italy between 1941 and 1945.
After the war, Mr Petera moved and settled in Ngataki a rural community in the far north where he became a farmer, and raised his family.
The native speaker of te reo Māori was appointed in 2014 as the patron of the Whangārei charter school, Leadership Academy of A Company – a position previously held by Sol Te Whata a former A Company member before he died.
Media contact: Sean Gillespie 021 992 315