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John Walter Callaway

3/4 length portrait of Trooper Callaway wearing a Maori cloak and holding a mere. Trooper Callaway, of the N.Z. Contingent, author of the Maori battle cry. 'Kia kaha Niu Tireni. Whawhai maiea mo to Kuini to Kaianga. Ake Ake Ake!' [Be strong, New Zealand. Fight bravely for your Queen, for your country. Ever, Ever, Ever!] Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-18991222-5-3. Image has no known copyright restrictions.

3/4 length portrait of Trooper Callaway wearing a Maori cloak and holding a mere. Trooper Callaway, …


Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    1874 AWMM AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    Pre 3 April 1901 AWMM Devonport, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Mr John Calloway (father), Kikowhakarere, Coromandel, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
    • Relief of Kimberley AWMM
    • Driefontein AWMM
    • 24 May 1900-31 May 1902 Transvaal AWMM
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    • South African 74 AWMM
    • South African 363 AWMM
    • South African SA363 AWMM
  • Military service
    Coromandel Rifles (Volunteers) AWMM
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on 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, South Africa AWMM
      Bullet wound July 21 1901. Hospitalised 1 month. He required invaliding at end of period. Suffered a punctured liver and wounded in the lungs. AWMM
    • Hospital Diseases , Wounds, South Africa AWMM
      Small pox 1902 AWMM
    • Died of wounds, Cause of Death AWMM
      From wounds received in the Boer War AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Husband Lillian Emma Robinson, they married 2 July 1907.

    While en route to South Africa Private Callaway, a Maori, composed the New Zealanders' War Cry, "Kia, Kaha, Nui Tireni. Whaiwhai maiea mo ti kuinui, to Kaianga. Ake!Ake!Ake!".

    Author of the Maori Battle Cry "Splendid scout"

    Calloway was an excellent scout and rode with many despatches at night through the bush veldt. He departed South Africa aboard the S.S. 'Harleck Castle'. In New Zealand joined the 24 Company, 7 NZMR as Sergeant-Major. (Stowers, p.158)

    'He was mentioned by Kitchener in his despatches, "for rescuing mounted men under heavy fire at Witkop." Apparently the 7 NZMR had orders to fire on Boers but Calloway believed then to be Queenslanders and took his squadron to the rescue.' (Stowers, p.158)

    Calloway was wounded at Vereeniging, in July 1901, while rescuing a comrade under fire he received a punctured liver and a wounded lung. He returned to New Zealand for a second time and joined the 9 NZMR, returning to South Africa as Lieutenant. (Stowers, p.158)

    Calloway returned to the Coromandel after the war and received the Imperial Life Pension. He died in 1926 after many years of ill health brought about by the wounds he received during the war.

    'The Veteran' (the official publication of the South African War Veteran's Association of New Zealand), volume No.46, May 1971, which lists the honours and awards to New Zealand Contingents in South Africa, Sergeant-Major W. J. Calloway is listed as receiving the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM). This has also been mentioned in articles in 1st NZMR Association bulletins. (Stowers, p.158)

    Known as Walter.

    Headstone transcription: there is no death and love can never lose its own.

    Boer War display in Auckland Museum "Kia Kaha Niu Tireni" (a reproduction of battle cry) and a photo of J.W. Callaway in feather cloak holding a mere.

    His story was also told in an exhibition at the old Courthouse, Coromandel Town and will then be displayed in the Biran Boru Hotel building in Thames.

    His father was named John Bone. AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    16 September 1926 AWMM
    Age 52 AWMM
    DevonportNorth Shore City AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    O'Neill's Point Cemetery, 122 Bayswater Avenue, Bayswater, North Shore, Auckland AWMM Row 1 Plot 141 AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
    John Walter Callaway, formerly a member of the Coromandel Rifles, was probably the 1st Maori commissioned officer in the NZ Defence Forces Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 4 February 2016 - RSA Review October 1999 (Newspaper Supplement)
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name
    Devonport, Boer War Memorial Fountain, corner of Victoria Road and Flagstaff Terrace, Devonport, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM

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  • E kore koe e koroheketia....
    Public - Moko - Researcher - 16 February 2015



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Command item
Command item
Add new record Refresh
DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
04 February 2016Lorraine MGisborne, NZResearcher
16 February 2015MokoTurangaResearcher

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