E tū he Māori!

A new intake of young Māori leaders follow the footsteps of the 28th Māori Battalion in an historic march to Waitangi. Their mission is simple: Kia Māori, Kia Mātau, Kia tū Rangatira ai. To live as Māori, to be educated and to be leaders.

Members of the academy's new intake perform a haka. Photo / Peter de Graaf

“E hoki ki ōu tātou maunga, e hoki ki ōu tātou Iwi,
e hoki ki ōu tātou marae.
Engari, ko tēnei taku tono mutunga ki a koutou katoa - 
e  tū he Māori! e tū he Māori! e tū he Māori!”

“Go back to our mountains, go back to our people, go back to our marae.
But this is my last command to you all -
stand as Māori! stand as Māori! stand as Māori!”

On 23 of January 1946, the men of the 28th Māori Battalion returned from World War II to a heroes' welcome. They had become one of the most celebrated and decorated units in the New Zealand forces. Their commander Lieutenant-Colonel James Hēnare, issued his final order, above, to dismiss his troops before they returned to their marae around Aotearoa. Exactly 75 years later, the Leadership Academy of A Company at the kura Te Kāpehu Whetū in Whangārei, honoured those men by retracing the journey they made in 1940 to the Waitangi Treaty grounds before heading off to war.

New recruits march at Waitangi

Leadership Academy's newest intake march up Nias Track in the footsteps of 28th Maori Battalion soldiers who took the same route to the Treaty Grounds in 1940. Photo / Peter de Graaf

Members of the 28th Māori Battalion march up Nias Track to the Waitangi Treaty grounds in 1940. Photo / PF Nash

Established in 2010, under the korowai of A Company, the Academy
 connects taiohi in Whangārei to their history and guides their lives in and outside the classroom. Their goal is to raise generations of confident, competent Ngāpuhi leaders capable of finding their place on the marae and in the world. “Tu ki te marae...Tu ki te Ao.” The three main pou of their programme is: Kia Māori, Kia Mātau, Kia tū Rangatira ai.  To live as Māori, to be educated and to be leaders.

Twenty boys are chosen each year after an intense two-week selection programme. They are taught to live by a strict code of conduct and embody the principles of the battalion. Each intake below is named after a battalion member to honour their legacy.

Their memories will be honoured by their whānau and Academy members:

Tasha Perrett carries a photo of her great-grandfather Major Rawson "Ross" Wright. Photo / Peter de Graaf

E whakatīnana ana koutou i te kōrero a Tā Hēmi Hēnare: “E tū he Māori! E tū he Māori! E tū he Māori!”

To find out more about the Leadership Academy of A Company visit their website(external link), or read(external link) about them in the Northern Advocate.

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback