26 Jun 2012

Major Waititi's body goes to Cape Runaway

8:41 am on 26 June 2012

Family of the last senior Maori Battalion officer are taking his body to their marae at Cape Runaway for his tangi on Tuesday.

Major Hone Hikitia Te Rangi Waititi, also known as John, died at the age of 91 at Tauranga Hospital on Monday morning.

Major Waititi, of Te Whanau a Apanui, was the last remaining commanding officer who fought with the Maori Battalion during WWII.

He was wounded three times during WWII but turned down the option of returning home early.

Major Waititi was made Companion of the Queen's Service Order in 2009 for service to the community.

Family spokesperson Willie Te Aho says the tangi will run until Thursday at Kauaetangohia Marae and he expects many people from the military to visit the marae.

Mr Te Aho says Major Waititi was a great leader and a humble man who did many great things for the Maori community.