The last of the "Gum Diggers" - Charlie Petera, who served with the 28th Māori Battalion - will be laid to rest today.
The funeral for Mr Petera, the last surviving member of A Company, also known as the Gum Diggers, is being held at Wai Ora Marae at Ngataki in the Far North.
Charlie Petera grew up in Te Hapua. He fought during World War II in North Africa and Italy between 1941 and 1945.
When he returned from the war after serving with the 28th Māori Battalion he settled in Ngataki, became a farmer and raised his family.
Harry Burkhardt, chair of the Ngāti Kuri Trust Board, said Charlie was highly principled and always put his people first.
He said he was "very silent" about his time in the 28th Māori Battalion during World War II.
"We appreciated he obviously had some memories ... a lot of them were around grief, but he was very protective of that space."
Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell has paid homage to Mr Petera, saying his passing was a loss not just to Māori but to the nation as a whole.
"Charlie Petera and the Māori Battalion played a role of significant importance in our history. Not just for their heroic efforts on the battlegrounds of Europe but for how they helped shift attitudes back here in Aotearoa-New Zealand.
"The fact that the Māori Battalion was a voluntary unit and that its soldiers received more individual bravery decorations than any other New Zealand battalion, speaks to the courage and mana of the men involved."