Dr Elisabeth Jacobs, the Honorary Consul of the Belgian Consulate, will represent her government at a special service commemorating the Armistice of 1918 at Te Rewarewa Marae, Te Wakaunua Rd, Ruatoki on Wednesday 11 November 2015.
This is the first time Tūhoe has commemorated the armistice of WW1.
Dr Jacobs joins Mr Olivier Schillé, General Representative of Le Souvenir Français for New Zealand, a French association charged with the maintenance of war memorials to France’s war dead and to preserve the memory of those who have died for France.
Mr Schillé will present a replica of the Croix De Guerre to descendants of a Tūhoe soldier, Rifleman Puia Tamehana, who was awarded the French military decoration in 1917 for conspicuous bravery in the field at Flanders, Belgium.
A replica of the Military Medal awarded to Private Pa Te Amo in 1917 will be presented to his descendants by Dr Jacobs. Te Amo won the medal for gallantry in the field following the battle for the Passchendaele Ridge.
Tamehana and Te Amo fought in the First World War with the NZ (Mãori) Pioneer Battalion. They were among 75 men from Te Rohe Pōtae o Tūhoe who enlisted. Fifty four were of Tūhoe descent and served overseas; 15 were Tūhoe men who volunteered but weren’t called up and did not serve overseas; and six were Pākehā who were part of Tūhoe whānau and communities.
The Ruatoki branch of the RSA has also commissioned replicas of the flag of the Māori Contingent and the King’s Colour awarded to the Pioneers by King George V in 1919. The flags will be part of ceremonies, as will the national flags of Belgium and France, the countries where Māori soldiers served on the Western Front.
The armistice day service will begin at 08:30AM and conclude at 01;00PM on Wednesday.
For more information, please contact:
John McCorkindale, Chair, Ruatoki RSA
M: 027 661 8889
Hemana Waaka, Deputy Chair
M: 027 255 2333