Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 42, September 1998

During 1998 a number of events were held to celebrate the Hauraki Battalion's Centenary. The birth of the Hauraki regiment is taken as 9 July 1898 in recognition of the date upon which the 2nd Battalion (Hauraki) of the Auckland Rifle Volunteers was formed. However, the Hauraki Regimental heritage can be traced much further back. Traditionally, the New Zealand Army as a whole has traced its roots back to the British and Colonial units which fought in the NZ Wars of the last century. The Hauraki Regiment can trace its roots back to four interconnecting groups, the British Regulars, the Maori, and the Colonial forces and local volunteers.

The Hauraki Regiment's British roots are to the 43rd Monmounthshire Regiment, one of the units which fought at Gate Pa and Te Ranga in 1864, and thereafter garrisoned in Tauranga. The Maori warrior is woven into the Hauraki Regiment again by Gate Pa, and the courageous account given by Maori Chief Rawari Puhiraki and his followers.

Rawari, who was killed at Te Ranga and Lieutenant Colonel Booth, the Commanding Officer of the 43rd Regiment who was killed at Gate Pa, now lie side by side, "in death two traditions of courage become one". The Battalion's motto " WHAKATANGA KIA KAHA" -Quit Yourself Like Men, be Strong", originates from the encouragement that Rawari chanted to his warriors as he pranced along the defensive parapet of Gate Pa.

Since that time, the Hauraki Regiment has served the New Zealand community both in time of peace and war. In its 100 years, the Regiment has earned some 52 battle honours from South Africa (1900 - 1902) to WWI and WWII. Twenty-one battle honours are emblazoned on the Regimental Colours.

During times of peace, the Hauraki Regiment has continued to serve the community providing troops for various warlike and United Nations deployments. At home the regiment in recent years has provided assistance in time of Civil Defence (floods, earthquakes, storms etc.), supports some 15 school cadet units and provides skills training to upwards of 100 new recruits each year.


13 February 1998: The BRADFORD Memorial on Primrose Hill, Paeroa, was rededicated. Sergeant Major George BRADFORD emigrated to NZ in 1895 and enlisted into the Ohinemuri Rifles and became the units first regimental Sergeant Major. BRADFORD gained the unsought distinction of being the first NZ soldier to die in an overseas war. He was one of six officers from the Hauraki region to fight in the Boer War and he died on 28 December 1899, aged 29.

14 February 1998: PAEROA Charter parade. The Hauraki Regiment gained the freedom of Paeroa on 12 February 1983. The guard made up from members of the Battalion (Hauraki) RNZIR and 9 Royal Queensland Regiment exercised their charter commencing at 10.30 am from Albert Street, marching along Belmont Road. Bayonets were fixed and swords drawn. The 6th Battalion were camped at the Paeroa racecourse where they were joined by the 120 strong unit from Queensland.

6 March 1998: Military Tattoo ROTORUA: A two hour demonstration of army capabilities and music. Events included a mass band including the Pipes and Drums of the 6th Hauraki and the NZ Army Band, Motorcycle display, 161 Gun Display, Demonstration of fire and manoeuvre, Cultural group, Cadet Forces, the Beating the Retreat and fireworks. The Tattoo was staged at the Rotorua Stadium.

7 March 1998: Military Tattoo: TAURANGA. This was held in conjunction with the National Highland Games and involved a two hour demonstration of army capabilities and music. The Tattoo was staged at the Tauranga Domain.

9 July 1998: Regimental Birthday: A service and sunset flag ceremony to be held at the Mission Cemetery followed by a reunion of Hauraki's at the Tauranga Racecourse.

11 July 1998: Centenary Vice Regal Ball: Tauranga Charter parade, Hauraki reunion (10 July, 1998) and a ball in the presence of the Governor-General and Commander in Chief, His Excellency, The Right Honourable Sir Hardie Boys. The evening of music, food, dance and good spirits will cap off a year of celebration and remembrance. This function will be held at the Tauranga Race Course.


Regimental History: Hauraki Major Richard Taylor, with the assistance of the Lotteries Commission and other sponsors, has been commissioned by the unit to research and write the Units Regimental History. The resulting publication "Comrades Brave" should be available for publication during the centenary year.

Centenary Painting: The unit, with sponsorship assistance from DB Breweries, has commissioned military artist Ion Brown to produce a centenary painting. A limited run of prints will be available during the centenary year.