Book on Maori in World War 1 a marathon effort

HISTORIAN Dr Monty Soutar has completed his book Whitiki! Whiti! Whiti E - Maori in the First World War and it has gone to the printers for publication. File picture
LANDMARK BOOK: The story of Maori in World War 1 has been told in a book by Dr Monty Soutar. Whiti! Whiti! Whiti! E! is to be launched in Auckland and Gisborne later this year. Sir Peter Jackson’s team at WingNut Films Productions Ltd colourised the front cover. The artwork on the cover and throughout the book was contributed to by Derek Lardelli, whose father was in the Pioneers.

HISTORIAN Monty Soutar has completed his book Whitiki! Whiti! Whiti E - Maori in the First World War and it has gone to the printers for publication.

Dr Soutar finalised the work last month after five years of research.

“I actually finished the manuscript 12 months ago but when the publishers started to lay it out we found it was almost 100,000 words over length,” he said. “So I spent four months cutting it back.”

The hardcover book is 576 pages long and contains nearly a thousand photos.

“It took several more months to complete the captions.

“The checking and rechecking of facts and figures turned into a marathon and it was a great feeling to finally get it ready for printing,” Dr Soutar said.

The book becomes part of a series on New Zealand and World War 1 produced jointly by Manatu Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Massey University and the New Zealand Defence Force.

The series explores the impact of the war on New Zealand society during and after the war.

“Leading New Zealand historians have been working on the series since 2012, and Whitiki is the largest in the series and one of the last of the books to be completed.”

Dr Soutar said Whitiki was supposed to be launched in April but the copies would not be back in the country before Anzac Day.

“It will now be launched at Auckland War Memorial Museum by the Prime Minister on June 5.

Dr Soutar was the WW1 historian in residence at the museum from 2014 to 2017.

“The launch will also mark the welcome to more than 1000 members of the Maori Pioneer Battalion at the Auckland Domain when they returned to New Zealand 100 years ago.”

A second launch will take place in Gisborne on Saturday, June 8.

“This one will mark the centenary of the Hui Aroha, which was the welcome home to the Tairawhiti component of the Battalion held at the racecourse.

“At the time, the Hui Aroha was promoted as the biggest Maori gathering in New Zealand. Shops were closed and most of Gisborne attended it.

“The Nga Taonga a Nga Tama Toa Trust, of which I am a part, has plans for a huge commemorative ceremony to mark the Hui Aroha as part of the launch.”

Dr Soutar says readers who expect a book that does justice to the Maori story in WW1 will not be disappointed.

“It is 130 pages longer than the C Company 28 Maori Battalion publication Nga Tama Toa, so it’s a very big book.

It includes a large number of unpublished photos, some of which are coloured, and full lists of casualties including wounded.”

HISTORIAN Monty Soutar has completed his book Whitiki! Whiti! Whiti E - Maori in the First World War and it has gone to the printers for publication.

Dr Soutar finalised the work last month after five years of research.

“I actually finished the manuscript 12 months ago but when the publishers started to lay it out we found it was almost 100,000 words over length,” he said. “So I spent four months cutting it back.”

The hardcover book is 576 pages long and contains nearly a thousand photos.

“It took several more months to complete the captions.

“The checking and rechecking of facts and figures turned into a marathon and it was a great feeling to finally get it ready for printing,” Dr Soutar said.

The book becomes part of a series on New Zealand and World War 1 produced jointly by Manatu Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Massey University and the New Zealand Defence Force.

The series explores the impact of the war on New Zealand society during and after the war.

“Leading New Zealand historians have been working on the series since 2012, and Whitiki is the largest in the series and one of the last of the books to be completed.”

Dr Soutar said Whitiki was supposed to be launched in April but the copies would not be back in the country before Anzac Day.

“It will now be launched at Auckland War Memorial Museum by the Prime Minister on June 5.

Dr Soutar was the WW1 historian in residence at the museum from 2014 to 2017.

“The launch will also mark the welcome to more than 1000 members of the Maori Pioneer Battalion at the Auckland Domain when they returned to New Zealand 100 years ago.”

A second launch will take place in Gisborne on Saturday, June 8.

“This one will mark the centenary of the Hui Aroha, which was the welcome home to the Tairawhiti component of the Battalion held at the racecourse.

“At the time, the Hui Aroha was promoted as the biggest Maori gathering in New Zealand. Shops were closed and most of Gisborne attended it.

“The Nga Taonga a Nga Tama Toa Trust, of which I am a part, has plans for a huge commemorative ceremony to mark the Hui Aroha as part of the launch.”

Dr Soutar says readers who expect a book that does justice to the Maori story in WW1 will not be disappointed.

“It is 130 pages longer than the C Company 28 Maori Battalion publication Nga Tama Toa, so it’s a very big book.

It includes a large number of unpublished photos, some of which are coloured, and full lists of casualties including wounded.”

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