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James Clendon Tau Henare

Portrait of James Henare. Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tamaki Paenga Hira (PH-NEG-C23065). This image may be subject to copyright

Portrait of James Henare. Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tamaki Paenga Hira (PH-NEG-C23065). This im …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    James Clendon Tau AWMM
  • Surname
    Henare AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    Tau AWMM
  • Service number
    WWII 63390 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi / Hapū / Waka / Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    18 November 1911 AWMM MotatauBay of Islands AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    Motatau, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Mrs Rose Henare (wife), Motatau, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Pre 7 April 1941 AWMM Married AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
    • North Africa AWMM
    • Italy AWMM
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    WWII 63390 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    • Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) AWMM
      DSO was awarded on 30 April 1946. Citation: 'Major Henare has fought with 28 New Zealand (Maori) Battalion for nearly four years. He has been a platoon commander and company commander and has always shown fearlessness and courage of the highest order. He commanded one of the companies which took part in the attack on Cassino Railway Station on 15 February 1944. In this battle very heavy opposition was met and it was only by superb courage that Major Henare was able to lead his men on to their objective despite many casualties. His complete fearlessness in this action was an example to all about him. Later he commanded his company in the Rimini battle with equal gallantry. He then became second in command and temporarily took over command of the Battalion between the River Reno and the River Po on the 23 April 1945 when his courage and energy inspired a tired battalion to new efforts and resulted in the mopping up of the enemy south of the River Po. Major Henare's bravery has throughout his service been an example to the whole battalion.' Haigh and Polaschek New Zealand and the Distinguished Service Order, p. 121. AWMM
    • 1939-1945 Star AWMM
    • Africa Star (8th Army clasp) AWMM
    • Italy Star AWMM
    • Defence Medal AWMM
    • War Medal 1939-1945 with oak leaf AWMM
    • Coronation Medal 1953 AWMM
    • Silver Jubilee Medal 1977 AWMM
    • New Zealand War Service Medal AWMM
    • Mentioned in Despatches (MiD) AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
    OCTU Trentham, Commissioned 12 August 1940 AWMM
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    WW2 Farmer/Civilian AWMM
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment

Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    • Height, Unknown Period AWMM
      5 foot 11 1/2 inches AWMM
    • Eye colour, Unknown Period AWMM
      blue AWMM
    • Hair colour, Unknown Period AWMM
      Dark AWMM
    • Build, Unknown Period AWMM
      medium build AWMM
    • Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWII AWMM
      24 October 1942 severe shrapnel wounds to his left leg. AWMM
    • Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWII AWMM
      He was subsequently twice wounded and also shot down whilst in a spotter plane. AWMM

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • James Henare was the son of Tau Henare (MP for Northern Maori, 1914-38). He was educated at Motatau School, Awanui, Takapuna, Thorndon Normal School, Sacred Heart College, Auckland. He joined the Maori Battalion of Massey Agricultural College as a private and rose to be its commanding officer. He played football, tennis and cricket. He was vice president of the Kawakawa Dental Clinic Association, executive tangi of the National Trust Board, chairman of the Motatau School Committee and a member of the Kawakawa district RSA and on the Kawakawa tribal executive. In the 1946 and 1949 elections he contested the Northern Maori seat.

    In 1933 he married Rosie, daughter of Johnson Cherrington. They had 3 sons and daughters.

    In North Africa Henare was Second-in-Command of A Company and was engaged at Medenine and Point 209.

    Henare was wounded in the attack on the German forces between Miteiriya Ridge, Ruweisat Ridge and the Qattara Depression on 24 October 1942. The Maori Battalion was to ensure that the sappers clearing the vital tracks through the minefields for the passage of guns and armour were not molested by overlooked strongpoints. The account of the night's operation reads: The assaulting infantry moved towards the opening line of the barrage, which was due to start rolling at twenty-three minutes past ten; fifteen minutes later the mopping-up parties followed into the mixture of moonlight, dust and smoke. A and B Companies, following 23 Battalion....were caught in a counter-barrage and there were some casualties, including Captain Henare. In October 1943 the Battalion moved across the Mediterranean to Italy and A Company commanded by Henare was engaged at Orsogna, Cassino, the advance on Florence and the Rimini campaign. The New Zealand Division's last battle in Italy was in April 1945. Henare was promoted to the rank of Major. The 28 Battalion fought five major battles for the Senio, Santerno, Sillaro, Gaiana and Idice rivers and smashed three German divisions, 98th, 278th and 4th Parachute in the process before it broke through to Trieste.

    With the end of the war in Europe - recorded in the war diary in capital letters: NEWS RECEIVED TODAY THAT THE GERMANS HAD SURRENDERED UNCONDITIONALLY TO THE ALLIES, AT 0241 HRS 7 MAY 1945 - the Maori Battalion was asking 'where do we go now'. Many in the battalion had seen long service and were due to return home, others were organised for service in the Pacific. Lt-Col. Henare was the commander of this second group. However the surrender of Japan on 15 August changed those plans and Henare returned to Wellington on the Dominion Monarch arriving on 23 January 1946. The troops assembled on the wharf and were met at the Aotea Quay gates with all the ceremony pertaining to the return of a war party. Anania Amohau (a returned original member of the battalion) and Henare enacted the ancient ceremony of the wero.

    Lt Col Sir James Henare, KBE, DSO enlisted as Private, commissioned, was promoted Captain in 1942, and Major in 1945. He commanded his last parade of 28 Battalion in 1946.

    In an interview in 1984 Sir James had this to say about his childhood and the influence of the elders on his development: 'I was brought up in an age when our tupuna and elders demanded instant obedience and respect for authority. Whakaiti, or humility, ethics and good manners were part also of our training. For example, out of respect for visitors in the homes and on the marae, the tangata whenua and certainly the children were not permitted to eat until the visitors had eaten. As children and later as young people we were not allowed to speak in front of our elders in a hui. Indeed we were to be seen, and not heard and to use our listening powers. I was taught that service to one's fellow man was the greatest reward in life'.

    On the subject of Maori culture he said 'My love of my culture was instilled in me at an early age, cultivated in my attending the last whare wananga of my subtribe Ngatihine. All my cultural background and tuition was eagerly sought by me and freely given by my tutors.'

    His grandparents and his father exhorted him never to leave his people and the marae and this sense of loyalty kept him close to his home. In the same sense of loyalty and obedience he accepted the decision of his father and grand uncle on whom and when he should marry. 'My wife and I were betrothed (Puhi) to each other when we were both around about three years of age. Two weeks after I was informed, that it was time to get married, we were wed.'

    He returned to New Zealand on the Dominion Monarch on 23 January 1946.

    Discussing the future of Maori he said: 'We must believe and appreciate that among the many qualities indispensable to the progress and success of our people are self knowledge, mastery over our follies and passions, a keen sense of duty and moral obligation. Foremost in the greatness of a person as for a race, is its character.

    'As the hastening years unfold, let us preserve the good that is old and add to it the good that is new, in our march towards an even brighter and more glorious testing. Kia ora ra koutou i raro i te maru o Te Runga Rawa.'

    Tu Tangata 19, Aug/Sept. 1984, p. 12-13.

    Discharged to the Reserve List of Officers on 22 May 1946 AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    2 April 1989 AWMM
    Age 78 AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

Roll of Honour

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  • Another year we are blessed to stand at dawn and be reminded of the mahi your comrades and you endured to provide a better life for all.

    Always thinking of you and especially on this day Grandpa.
    Public - Richard James - Direct descendant - 25 April 2020
  • E taku tupuna e!
    Kua roa nei koe e ngaro ana ia mātou. Engari, ko ōu tapuwae kei runga tonu i te mata o te whenua hei whāinga ma tātou. E kore e warewaretia. Ko tō manawa, ko tōku manawa ka whakairihia ki te pae o mahara.
    E okioki Karanipa.
    Nā tō mokopuna.
    Public - Tapeka - Direct descendant - 28 June 2018
  • I am a granddaughter of James and Rose Henare. My mother {Maraea Phoebe Olga} is the second eldest child of James and Rose. I think of you often grandpa and tomorrow {ANZAC Day} will be no different. Rest peacefully, grandpa xxx
    Public - Lynette - Direct descendant - 25 April 2016
  • Sir James was my grandfather, Sir James and Lady Rose's eldest son was Jim, Jim was my father. I am the eldest son of Jim and Judy. I miss you grandpa.
    Public - Richard James - Direct descendant - 13 February 2016
  • Sir James Henare is my great grandfather. My dad's name is Tatai and his dad's name is Erima. Erima's father is Sir James Henare. Sir James Henare was married to Lady Rose nee Cherrington.
    Public - Tikarohie te marama - Other Relative - 27 April 2015
  • Sir James HENARE is my grandfather.
    Public - Tupuarangi - Other Relative - 24 April 2015



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  • External links
  • References
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1941). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 4 (Embarkations from 1st April, 1941 to 30 June, 1941). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      WW2 4: WW2 156 AWMM
    • Gardiner, W. (1992). Te mura o te Ahi = The story of the Maori Battalion. Auckland, N.Z.: Reed. AWMM
    • Cody, J. (1956). 28 (Maori) Battalion. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
      Tu Tangata 19, Aug/Sept. 1984, p. 12-13. AWMM


Command item
Command item
Add new record Refresh
DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
25 April 2020Richard JamesNew ZealandDirect descendant
28 June 2018TapekaMoerewaDirect descendant
25 April 2016LynetteMangere, New ZealanDirect descendant
13 February 2016Richard JamesHamiltonDirect descendant
27 April 2015Tikarohie te maramaWhangarei,NewZealandOther Relative

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