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By February 1915 the first "Maori Contingent" of 500 officers and men left New Zealand where it joined the New Zealand and Australian Division, but was soon dispatched to Malta for further training and garrison duties. As a result of the heavy losses suffered by the NZ units, the "Contingent" was sent to Gallipoli as reinforcements. Although employed mainly on pioneering duties, they were exposed to all the dangers of the ANZAC campaign losing 17 killed, 89 wounded and two missing.

Surviving members of the "Contingent" were assigned to the four New Zealand battalions. When the Pioneer Battalion of the New Zealand Division was formed in Egypt early in 1916 it contained survivors from the "Contingent".

When this battalion left Egypt for France it did not constitute "a fighting unit" but a labour force trained and organised to work on engineering tasks, digging trenches, building roads, light railways. The battalion had also 125 Niue Islanders and 45 Rarotongans. Having covered the formative period of the "Maori Pioneers" and the ANZAC campaign in three chapters the author turns to deployment on the Western Front, recording this in five chapters, with a further two accounting for the return to NZ, disbandment and later events.

Perhaps the most important aspect of this book is to be found in the nominal rolls printed in the latter part and covering the original 'Contingents" and subsequent battalion reinforcements, a total of 32 actual sailings from NZ with 2227 Maori and 458 Pascific Islanders. The rolls are followed by a list of honours and awards, casualties of the Pioneer Battalion, a Maori Roll of Honour occupying 10 pages, plus a list of decorations, notes, bibliography and index.

Hardcovered book with protected dust jacket. As new condition. Published in 1995, 147 pages. Illustrated with 52 b&w photos, full page of photo portraits of Maori casualties at Gallipoli, several maps and document reproductions.

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  • Seller location: Christchurch City, Canterbury, NZ

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