The Government has contributed $500,000 towards a new Maori Battalion war museum being built in Gisborne.
The first sod for the building, was commemorates the 28th Maori Battalion's C Company, was turned on Monday.
Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Chris Finlayson said the Government's grant ensured the immense contribution made by members of the C Company to the nation was recognised and remembered.
C Company was made up of volunteers from tribes around the East Coast, including Ngai Tai, Te Whanau a Apanui and Ngati Porou.
The museum is due to open next April.