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Cenotaph Stories

  • Uncle Bambi and the mystery of the travelling guitar

    Victoria Passau
    Collection Manager, Online Cenotaph

    Many Online Cenotaph staff have had an ongoing fascination with a series of photos of a guitar that have been attached to nearly 150 personnel records. This is the story Peter Utanga's guitar.

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  • Niuean Service Personnel

    List of identified Niuean Service personnel who have service with the New Zealand Armed Forces, during both the First World War, Second World War and later conflicts.

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  • Sani Lakatani

    Madison Pine
    Collection Technician, Research Support

    In June 2020, Madison sat down with the Malaya and Vietnam Veteran Sani Lakatani, to discuss his two major colourful careers with the New Zealand Army and in Niuean Politics.

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  • Tuakeo Terongo

    By Dan Millar and Madison Pine
    Collection Technicians, Research Support

    Amazingly the only known photograph of Cook Island soldier Private Tuakeo Terongo had re-emerged almost 100 years after his death.

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  • Chaplain Hekataha Uea and Niue's contribution to WWI

    Georgina White
    Curator, Cenotaph Galleries

    Chaplain Uea was age 40, the oldest of the 150 Niuean men who, keen to help ‘the Kingdom of King George’, joined the New Zealand Maori Contingent. Uea was a natural leader. He was their Sergeant Major and something of a father figure to the Niuean men. Importantly, he was one of the few who could speak English.

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  • The Zero: Two men and a plane

    By Gail Romano
    Associate Curator History

    On 15 September 1945 the Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero, flown by Wing Commander Kofoed, landed at Piva airfield in Bougainville. This aircraft is now on display in Auckland War Memorial Museum and the story of its journey here has been widely repeated. However, the story hinges on two men of different nationalities who were each instrumental in the Zero’s acquisition.

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  • Manava Toa: the Cook Islands in WW1

    Tūrou Tūrou `Oro Mai. Over 500 Cook Islanders fought for New Zealand in the WWI. They served with distinction but suffered great loss. Find out more about these courageous servicemen.

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  • Kāre e ngaropōina ia mātou a rātou e tuātau `uātu

    By William Kainana Cuthers
    Researcher and Academic Writer

    In celebration of Cook Islands Language Week William Cuthers Researcher and Academic Writer has written a piece celebrating the language of the Cook Islands and commemorating the service of the Cook Islands ancestors who served. He is introduced by Arerangi Tongia

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  • The Pacific War - 75 years on

    By Dan Millar and Madison Pine
    Collection Technicians Research Support

    In commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of VJ Day, we have put together some of the stories of the men and women of all of New Zealand's forces who served during the Pacific War.

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  • Our Coastwatchers

    Geraldine Warren and Madison Pine
    Collection Information and Access team

    Coastwatchers were the eyes and ears for New Zealand throughout the Moana Pacific, during the Second World War. This is the story of the Coastwatchers, and of John Jones who fought for official recognition of their service. *Please be aware this article does contain sensitive material relating to the Tarawa Massacre*

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