Directly next to the Tram Station Café in Foxton is a little room that serves as a memorial to New Zealand’s 28th Maori Battalion .
The Battalion has it’s own website that shows many photographs and tells the story of their fighting efforts:
I followed the interactive map on the site and whilst I knew that the Maori Battalion had seen active service in Italy and Greece, I was unaware that they had also been active in the Middle East and North Africa, in an area that stretched from Syria to Tebaga Gap in Tunisia.
I see at there are many New Zealand War Graves in Italy and found this site to be so moving that one day when we visit Italy I would like to incorporate a visit to at least one of these grave sites to pay my respects.
Having had members of my Dutch family caught up and involved in the Second World War, I have an idea of how hard it must be for many families who’s friends and loved ones lie buried in a county far away on the other side of the world.
Even after all these years, actually especially after all these years, we should show respect for the freedom they gave their lives to give us and show that we have firstly: not forgotten them, and secondly: that we appreciate their efforts.
I live a half day’s drive away from the fields of Flanders, so aim to visit graves there too in the future.
In the meantime I am reminded of everything that the Maori Battalion (and all Kiwi’s in the Armed Services) have done as I read some of the newspaper clippings and gaze at the faces in the photographs. I like that all of this is accessible to the public ad very much enjoy my time looking around.