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Who encouraged men to go to war? Why?

Taipari Munro and Pita Tipene explain why Tau Henare encouraged men to join the 28th Māori Battalion and why young men were so eager to go to war.


The main drivers of recruitment among Ngā Puhi for the Second World War were Sir Apirana Ngata and Tau Henare, because they were both members of Parliament at the time. Sir Apirana was a highly effective recruiter of young Māori men from all over Aotearoa. A sentiment uttered by these elders, and indeed by Tau Henare, was that the soldiers of the 28th Māori Battalion should go to fight to avenge the deaths of their soldiers who died in the First World War. That’s a fundamental traditional Māori principle of life. One must seek appropriate retribution for the deaths of one's relations.

Some wished to go to see the world and thought there would be no better way to do it than to travel off in a soldier's uniform to see the world and things they were interested in while in uniform and indeed be admired in your uniform as a Cesar of beautiful appearance. Most of them were quite young men. That’s why they wanted to go to other countries.