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Haane Manahi

Sergeant Haane Manaahi of Te Arawa and Ngati Raukawa. Head and shoulders portrait, taken by George Bull at Maadi, Egypt, circa 10th of June 1943. Image kindly provided by Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, Ref: DA-04139.

Sergeant Haane Manaahi of Te Arawa and Ngati Raukawa. Head and shoulders portrait, taken by George B …

Copyright undetermined - untraced rights owner AWMM


Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    28 September 1913 AWMM OhinemutuRotorua AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    • WW2 Unknown AWMM Ohinemutu, Rotorua, New Zealand AWMM
    • Jayforce Mrs Rangi Awatea Manahi (wife), Ohinemutu, Rotorua Post Office, New Zealand AWMM
    • WW2 Unknown AWMM Ohinemutu, Rotorua, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Jayforce Mrs Rangi Awatea Manahi (wife), Ohinemutu, Rotorua, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Pre 2 May 1940 AWMM Married/WWII AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    • Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) AWMM
      DCM. Citation:"On the night of 19-20 April 1943 during the attack upon the TAKROUNA feature, Tunisia, Lance Sergeant Manahi was in command of a section. The objective of his platoon was the pinnacle, a platform of rock right on top of the feature. By morning the platoon was reduced in strength to ten by heavy mortar and small-arms fire and were pinned to the ground a short way up the feature. The platoon continued towards their objective, Lance Sergeant Manahi leading a party of three up the western side. During this advance they encountered heavy machine-gun fire from posts on the slope and extensive sniping from the enemy actually on the pinnacle. In order to reach their objective, he and his party had to climb some 500 feet under heavy fire, the last 50 feet being almost sheer. He personally led the party after silencing several machine-gun posts and by climbing hand-over-fist they eventually reached the pinnacle. After a brief fight some sixty enemy, including an artillery observation officer, surrendered. They were then joined by the remainder of the platoon and the pinnacle was captured. The area was subjected to intense mortar fire from a considerable enemy force still holding Takrouna Village and the northern and western slopes of the feature and later to heavy and continuous shelling. The Platoon Sergeant was killed and other casualties reduced the party holding the pinnacle to Lance Sergeant Manahi and two Privates. An artillery observation officer who had arrived ordered him to withdraw but he and his men remained and held the feature. This action was confirmed by Brigade Headquarters as soon as communications were established. Late morning found the party short of ammunition, rations and water. Lance Sergeant Manahi himself returned to his Battalion at the foot of the feature and brought back supplies and reinforcements, the whole time being under fire. During the afternoon the enemy counter-attacked in force, some of them gaining a foothold. In the face of grenades and small-arms fire he personally led his men against the attackers. Fierce hand-to-hand fighting ensued but eventually the attackers were driven off. Shortly after this the party was relieved. The following morning urgent and immediate reinforcements were required as the enemy had once more gained a foothold and Lance Sergeant Manahi led one of two parties which attacked and drove back the enemy despite concentrated mortar and heavy machine-gun fire. All that day the feature was heavily shelled, mortared and subjected to continual machine-gun fire from in and about Takrouna. Late in the afternoon of 21 April Lance Sergeant Manahi on his own initiative took two men and moved round the north-western side of the feature. In that area were several enemy machine-gun and mortar posts and two 25-pounder guns operated by the enemy. With cool determination Lance Sergeant Manahi led his party against them, stalking one post after another always under shell and machine-gun fire. By his skill and daring he compelled the surrender of the enemy in that area. This courageous action undoubtedly led to the ultimate collapse of the enemy defence and the capture of the whole Takrouna feature with over 300 prisoners, two 25-pounder guns, several mortars and seventy-two machine guns. On the night of 21-22 April Lance Sergeant Manahi remained on the feature assisting in the evacuation of the dead and wounded and refused to return to his Battalion until this task was completed. During that time the area was being heavily and continually shelled. Throughout the action Lance Sergeant Manahi showed the highest qualities of an infantry soldier. He made a supreme contribution to the capture and holding of a feature vital to the success of the operation." AWMM
    • 1939-1945 Star AWMM
    • Africa Star (8th Army clasp) AWMM
    • Defence Medal AWMM
    • War Medal 1939-1945 AWMM
    • New Zealand War Service Medal AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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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
    • Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWII AWMM
      Wounded 23 May 1941 AWMM
    • Accidental Death, Cause of Death AWMM
      Accidental death AWMM

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Private Manahi was amongst those who trained at Palmerston North and at noon on 1 May 1941 went by train to Wellington to board the Aquitania for Britain.

    Many felt he should have been awarded the Victoria Cross

    The circumstances surrounding the action for which Private Manahi was recommended for the Victoria Cross occurred at Takrouna, Tunisia.

    The New Zealand Division's intention was to attack and capture the Djebel el Froukr and Djebel el Ogla features and exploit to the north-west and north, they were to secure the end of a ridge and exploit into the hills. Fifth Brigade on the left of the New Zealand sector had for its first objective the capture of Djebel Cherachir which lay beyond Takrouna and Djebel Bir. The final objective, Djebel Froukr, lay a mile further north.

    The Enfidaville-Zaghouan road ran between Cherachir and Takrouna and was the final objective for the first phase of the attack - the responsibility of 28 Battalion, on the right and 21 Battalion on the left. The 21 Battalion was to reach the road by moving around the left or western side of Takrouna. Takrouna hill itself and Djebel Bir were to be taken by the 28 Battalion. The citation above gives the details of Haane Manahi's actions. For a detailed account of the whole event refer to 28 (Maori) Battalion by J.F. Cody Chapter II.

    Sergeant Manahi is regarded as one of New Zealand's most distinguished soldiers and controversy has surrounded him because he was not awarded the Victoria Cross. Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Charles Bennett, former commanding officer of the 28 Battalion supported moves to redress this decision. Sir Charles is quoted as saying that "... a grave injustice has been done to a great soldier, and indeed to the Maori people as a whole - as grave in my view as the confiscation of Maori lands in the last century." (NZ Herald 21 January 1997)

    Approaches were made to the Prime Minister in 1993, Mr Bolger, and again in 1997 to Mrs Shipley, for the award of a posthumous Victoria Cross. New Zealand First Member of Parliament John Delamere also pressed the Government to recognise the claim that the DCM be replaced by a VC. It appears that Major Denis Blundell (later Governor-General of New Zealand) recommended Lance- Sergeant Manahi for the VC and was supported by Lieutenant-General Sir Bernard Freyberg, General Sir Brian Horrocks and Field Marshal Bernard Montogomery. In spite of these high commendations it is believed that officials in London decided against the award on the grounds that a second Maori could not get a VC. The first was awarded to Te Moananui-A-Kiwa Ngarimu who died on the Tunisian battlefield in March 1943. (NZ Herald 20 January 1997, 21 March 1997)

    In May 1998 Mr Delamere suggested Manahi and Colonel William Malone could be amongst the first to receive the new New Zealand-based royal awards.

    In 2006 Manahi’s gallantry was finally acknowledged in 2007 with the presentation, on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II, of an altar cloth for St Faith’s Church Ohinemutu, a letter to the family and a ceremonial sword for Te Arawa, later presented to the Chief of Defence, together symbolising the tangible link between God, Queen and Country.

    He died in a car accident near Te Puke in 1986

    28 (Maori) Battalion, Main Body AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    29 March 1986 AWMM
    Age 72 AWMM
    Te PukeBay of Plenty AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Muruika Cemetery, Ohinemutu, Rotorua, New Zealand AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name
    Whakarewarewa, Te Hokowhitu-a-tu Memorial Gateway, Rotorua AWMM

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  • R.I.P from all of the Hamiora Whanau. We well always remember you now and forever
    Public - Morgan Tekaitu - Other relative - 26 April 2016



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  • External links
  • References
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1941). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 2 (Embarkations to 30th June, 1940). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      p.124 AWMM
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1950). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 16 (Embarkations from 1st January, 1946 to 30th June, 1948). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      p.86 AWMM
    • Ross, A. (1959). 23 Battalion. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
      Official History of 23 Battalion, p.268 AWMM
    • Te waka o-Tu (the war craft): on board H.M.T. Aquitania AWMM
    • Dominion Post AWMM
      Article. (2006, October 10). Dominion Post, p. A4 AWMM
    • Sunday Star Times AWMM
      Sunday Star Times, 8 October 2006, Korero AWMM
    • Rotorua Review AWMM
      Rotorua Review, 11 October 2006 AWMM
    • Press Release: New Zealand Goverment AWMM
      Recognition from Queen for Manahi. Press Release: New Zealand Government. Monday, 9 October 2006. AWMM
    • Weekend Herald AWMM
      Tahana, Y. (2010, 18 September). War hero 'victim of VC quota system'. Weekend herald, A13. AWMM
    • The Listener AWMM
      Lomas, D. (2010, November 13). Fighting for Haane. Listener, p. 30 - 33. AWMM
    • Harper, G., & Richardson, C. (2006). In the face of the enemy: The complete history of the Victoria Cross and New Zealand. Auckland, N.Z.: HarperCollins NZ. AWMM
      Harper, G. & Richardson, C. (2006). p.129-130 AWMM
    • Gardiner, W. (2019). Ake ake kia kaha e! : Forever brave! : B Company 28 (Maori) Battalion, 1939-1945. Auckland : Bateman Books. AWMM
    • Cody, J. (1956). 28 (Maori) Battalion. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
    • Brocklebank, L.W. (1997). Jayforce : New Zealand and the military occupation of Japan, 1945-48. Auckland, N.Z.: Oxford University Press. AWMM
    • Iwi, Hapū, Rohe and additional whakapapa information kindly provided from “Ngāti Raukawa and 20th century wars. Ngā Pakanga o Te Ao. Participation, Price, and Post-War Experience.” Research conducted by Te Kenehi Teira and Heeni Collins (2022). Report commissioned by Crown Forestry Rental Trust, Wellington (Wai 2200 Porirua ki Manawatu Inquiry). AWMM
    • Ngāti Raukawa in World War 2 - 1939-1945 & further (credit to Reuben Waaka, Diane Taylor, Te Kenehi Teira). Part of “Ngāti Raukawa and 20th century wars. Ngā Pakanga o Te Ao. Participation, Price, and Post-War Experience.” Research conducted by Te Kenehi Teira and Heeni Collins (2022). Report commissioned by Crown Forestry Rental Trust, Wellington (Wai 2200 Porirua ki Manawatu Inquiry). AWMM


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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
26 September 2022Lorraine Mona GisborneResearcher
26 April 2016Morgan TekaituNew Zealand / RotoruaOther relative

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