'Odd men from the Pacific' : the participation of Pacific Island men in the 28 (Maori) Battalion in the Second World War
Mataia, Louise Marie Tuimanuolo
The Maori Battalion's wartime experience forms an important part of the New Zealand and Pacific Island heritage. This study explores the participation of Pacific Islanders in the 28 (Maori) Battalion during World War II. It focuses on three main aspects of their participation. Firstly, the study focuses on the recruitment of the Pacific Islanders into the Maori Battalion by exploring criteria for enlistment and recruitment patterns administered by the New Zealand government in the Pacific Island Territories. This thesis is more than a military history. It is a social history too, which examines how the wartime experience influenced and shaped their lives and those of their families in the post-war years. In addition, it inquires into the specific ways the war conditions affected these individuals and how they dealt with their experience. The third objective of this thesis is to identify and discuss the personal histories of these Pacific Island individuals as soldiers and the impact of their contribution on their adopted country, despite their obscurity in New Zealand military literature. It examines the frontline experiences of the veterans and how they saw their participation in the war by delving into the oral histories done specifically for this research. The research enquires into the experiences of the veterans' families after the war to examine the question of post-war rehabilitation for the Pacific Islanders who went with the Maori Battalion. These elements about the lives of individual soldiers are often omitted in the official regimental histories. This thesis seeks to rectify both the absence of the personal wartime experiences and Pacific Islanders from the story of New Zealand's military history.
Advisor: Bennett, Judith; Wanhalla, Angela
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: History
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis