2 Oct 2013

Maori Battalion audio goes live

6:43 am on 2 October 2013

Five hours of historic audio recordings of the 28th Maori Battalion from 1943 are now available online.

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage has been working with Sound Archive Nga Taonga Korero on a major project to locate the archival recordings.

The project team spent six months digitising the delicate recordings and provided transcriptions and translations.

In an audio piece from 1943, then-Prime Minister Peter Fraser congratulates the 28th Maori Battalion for defending New Zealand and fighting against Adolf Hilter and his Nazi regime.

His words are translated into Maori by renowned orator and Maori broadcaster Kingi Tahiwi.

Other audio bites include recordings from the Ngarimu VC Investiture hui for 2nd Lieutenant Moana Ngarimu, the first Maori soldier to receive the Victoria Cross at Whakarua Park in Ruatoria, on the East Coast, 70 years ago.

The original records were made by the National Broadcasting Service - Radio New Zealand's predecessor.

Meanwhile, a leading Maori historian says after six months of transcribing, translating and digitising archival recordings of the 28th Maori Battalion, the public can now listen to them on the Battalion's own website.

Dr Monty Soutar, of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage has been working on the project with archivist Sarah Johnson at their Christchurch office.

Dr Soutar, of Ngati Porou and Ngati Awa descent, says it was fortuitous his team found the recordings as this year was the 70th anniversary of the awarding of the Victoria Cross to 2nd Lieutenant Ngarimu.

Five hours of historic recordings of the original 1943 hui have been digitised and are now available on the 28th Maori Battalion website.

Dr Soutar says he is thankful to Sound Archives in Christchurch, who spent a lot of time digitally remastering the delicate recordings to ensure the legacy of the 28th Maori Battalion remains alive and accessible for future generations.

The audio can be heard at: 28maoribattalion.org.nz