Almost 500 Cook Island men enlisted in the First World War with the first 45 arriving in New Zealand just over 100 years ago. Daniela Maoate-Cox joined their descendants as they re-enacted the arrival at Parliament in Wellington to mark their contribution.
A string of small yellow shells is placed around a cross bearing the name of Private Apu Tepuretu.
To the left a cluster of grey shells swings from a cross for Private Tom Tupu.
More shells of red, black and brown are hung around the remaining crosses across the lawn in front of Parliament.
The forty-five men were the first of almost 500 who volunteered to leave their "'Islands of the Blest' for the stern realities of grim warfare" as a newspaper reported at the time.
More than 100 years later in 2016, descendants of those men made the same march across the lawns of parliament into the debating chamber to acknowledge the contribution of their tupuna (ancestors).
Dan Kauraka represented his great-great-great-grandfather Lance Corporal Peter Solomona and said arriving in New Zealand must have been a nerve-wracking experience.
"It's all new to him, coming in to a new environment to see all those big buildings here and certainly a big contrast from a very small island and to meet all the Parliamentarians and especially the leaders of the Maori people would have been a great honour for him."
The commemoration has encouraged him to learn more about his ancestor.
"I've heard little bits about him but I think given this experience, it's given me the wanting to go and find out more about him."
Speaking to the descendants at Parliament, National MP Alfred Ngaro told the descendants their ancestors contribution deserves to be acknowledged.
He said many in the Pacific had been enlisted when war broke out but the British authorities at the time did not think it was appropriate for indigenous people of the Pacific to be enlisted until numbers dwindled after the battle at Gallipoli.
"At that time Sir Maui Pomare went out to the Pacific and especially to the islands of Cook Islands and Niue and at that time they weren't drafted or enlisted, they were volunteered," he said.
"Today is a re-enactment of that period of time. It's a symbolism of young men who had chosen to serve not only their country but also too the colony at that time. They came with the thought of adventure and instead what they experienced was something quite different."
Acknowledging their contribution is the focus of the Cook Islands Soldiers World War One committee which tracked down the descendants for the re-enactment.
"I grew up in the Cooks and I didn't know too much about it because no one talked about it. the only time you knew that we may have had some contribution to the war efforts would have been around ANZAC day," said its chairperson Anne Allan-Moetaua.
"It's about us, Cook Islanders, remembering. We need to remember the contribution that our ancestors gave."
She said the men who went found war difficult and kept the details from those back at home but she hopes the re-enactment will encourage the next generation to seek out their stories.
"We'll just continuously keep changing, keep pulling in people. That way we can continue, rather than the older people always holding on. So it's about, hey you've learnt what can happen, how about you take up the oar and you start paddling."
The committee said it is still collecting historical accounts of the men who enlisted and invites people to get in touch with their stories via email: (firstname.lastname@example.org)