Farewell to the last veteran from D Company, 28th Battalion Nov 13, 2014 19:04:30 GMT 12
Post by kiwithrottlejockey on Nov 13, 2014 19:04:30 GMT 12
from the Wairarapa Times-Age....
Death breaks link to Maori battalion
By DON FARMER | 6:12AM - Tuesday, November 11, 2014
PROUD: Kingi Matthews, on an Anzac Day parade. He was Wairarapa's second-to-last surviving
member of the 28th Maori Battalion.
ONE OF the the last links Wairarapa had to a famous fighting battalion of World War II has passed with the death on Sunday of Kingi Matthews, 88.
Mr Matthews was a veteran of the 28th Maori Battalion which he joined in 1944, being sent to Italy with the 12th reinforcements.
His death leaves one surviving member of the 28th Maori Battalion living in Wairarapa, Epineha Ratapu, 92.
Apart from his war service Mr Matthews is well remembered as being an outstanding rugby player and Greytown club stalwart.
He was the oldest surviving 1946 Maori All Black and in his long playing career with Wairarapa-Bush he helped the representative side to lift the Ranfurly Shield from Canterbury in 1950. Mr Matthews, of Ngati Kahungunu and Rangitane, had lived in Greytown almost continuously since 1932 when his father moved back from Masterton to be closer to the Papawai marae.
He was an old boy of Greytown School and Wairarapa College and after serving in the war came back home to train as a carpenter in a scheme for returned soldiers and worked for Trotman Bros for 22 years.
When his rugby playing days eventually finished, having notched up 109 first-class games, Mr Matthews coached the Greytown senior team and had also served on the committee and as club patron.
He was married to Petina (Polly), who survives him, for 66 years and the couple raised 10 children.
Mr Matthews is lying at Papawai marae until his burial at the Black Bridge urupa, near Greytown, tomorrow.
from the Wairarapa Times-Age....
Warrior farewell for Maori soldier
By VOMLE SPRINGFORD | 6:25AM - Thursday, November 13, 2014
FITTING FAREWELL:Warriors perform a traditional ritual for dignified rangatira. The youths are
Wharekura students of Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Wairarapa. — Photo: LYNDA FERINGA.
KINGI MATTHEWS of Greytown, the last 28th Maori Battalion D-Company veteran, was farewelled by hundreds at Papawai Marae yesterday.
Five generations of his family and the Wairarapa community went to pay their respects to the veteran and last survivor of the 1946 Maori All Blacks rugby team.
Paora Ammunson told friends, battalion veterans, politicians, councillors and the rugby fraternity that his uncle was really “all of our uncles”.
Mr Matthews, QSM, of Ngati Kahungunu and Rangitane, served in World War II with the famous battalion and was a Maori All Black from 1946-1950.
He died on Sunday at the age of 88, leaving behind his wife of 66 years, Polly. One of his friends described him as “a man who spoke little but did lots” — testament to his involvement in Wairarapa rugby, military groups and gardening.
He was once president of the Wairarapa Bush Rugby Union, one of his proudest jobs, and in his long playing career helped the representative side lift the Ranfurly Shield from Canterbury in 1950.
Tina Matthews, one of his 10 children, said her father volunteered for war at 16.
“When enlisted, he presented himself to his father who laughed because he had his garters on backwards.”
She said her dad taught them to “stand tall with your head up high ... he was the dad that made us who and what we are today.”
He was also an uncle who was always there for advice and support and passed on his love of sport to his grandchildren. His grandchildren described their “pop” with four words: survivor, humble, mana, legendary.
Relative and NZ First MP Ron Mark recounted a story that Mr Matthews' long-time friend Gordon Stubbs, a World War II veteran, had told him.
"During the Battle of Cassino, Kingi found himself taking shelter under a platform of a railway station.
“Gordon was going there and he told him ‘if you go to the station, you'll find a rock under there with my fingerprints embedded in it’.”
“He was terrified at that stage, he was big enough to admit it ... he got up from that, continued and survived.”
Mr Mark saluted Mr Matthews.
“Uncle Kingi, go well, stand down, your work is done.”
WBRU president Rex Playle said Mr Matthews was very proud of Maori rugby.
“He's been a great stalwart in our rugby fraternity.”
Sir Brian Lochore said Mr Matthews was somebody he “absolutely respected” and one of the great presidents of WBRU.
“I remember the first time I saw Kingi, at the front of the lineout.”
“He was a father, a friend and a hell of a great New Zealander.”
He said the Matthews family had a big influence on his life.
“You have given an amazing amount of time to rugby in Wairarapa, I'm sure it won't stop.”
Mr Matthews was taken from the marae to be buried at Ura O Tane, where an Army firing party fired three volleys as a mark of respect.