11 Oct 2012

Maori Battalion to wind up its association

9:10 am on 11 October 2012

Planning has started for the Maori Battalion Association's final hui.

The battalion served with distinction in the Middle East and Europe during World War II.

Matt Te Pou, who has chaired association meetings, says it will wind up in Wellington on 1 December.

He says the day will include a remembrance service, and a formal luncheon for association members and dignitaries, including the Governor General, Lieutenant General, Sir Jerry Mateparae.

Mr Te Pou says Maori battalion members have been preparing for at least six years for the last hui.

He says more than 3500 men served in the battalion, but only 26 are still alive, and no more than 12 are able-bodied enough to attend meetings.

Mr Te Pou says the battalion itself will remain until the last man passes.

He says there was a gathering on Wednesday to discuss closing the association which involved organisations such as Te Puni Kokiri and the Governor General's office.

Mr Te Pou says the decision to wind up the association was made earlier this year, following a meeting of its executive, and a unanimous vote by postal ballot amongst members.