Medals and Awards
- Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) AWMM
D.S.O. L.G. 21/6/1945 (I)
Lt-Col. Awatere's battalion had a very difficult assault in the attack on the night 14/15 December 1944. From a short start-line, it had to take objectives on a wide front. By skilful handling, all objectives were captured before first light. Unfortunately it was found impossible to get armour to support the leading companies owing to the wet nature of the ground. The enemy promptly counter-attacked with tanks and infantry and, despite hard fighting, two forward localities had to be abandoned. Lt-Col. Awatere withdrew the troops skilfully and handled his support weapons so well that the enemy suffered many casualties. He then reorganised his position and held firm still on a difficult line when armour could only support one flank. Throughout the day he was so aggressive that the enemy, fearing further advances on an open flank, again counter-attacked at dusk. This was also smashed and the enemy started a general withdrawal. lt-Col. Awatere's handling of his battalion and inspiring leadership were responsible for causing the enemy over one hundred casualties, while his personal bravery and calmness under fire was an example to all ranks.
DSO: New Zealand Gazette, 2 May 1946. Citation: ""NW of Faenza, in the area Pogliano-Baccarina, Lieutenant Colonel Awatere's Battalion had a very difficult assault in the attack on the night 14/15 December (1944). From a short start line it had to take two objectives on a wide front. By skillful handling all objectives were captured before first light. Unfortunately it was found impossible to get armour to support the leading companies owing to the wet nature of the ground. The enemy promptly counter attacked with tanks and infantry and despite hard fighting the forward localities had to be abandoned. Lt Col Awatere withdrew his troops skillfully and handled his support weapons so well that the enemy suffered many casualties. He then reorganised his position and held firm still on a difficult line where armour could only support one flank. Throughout the day he was so aggressive that the enemy, fearing further advances on an open flank again counter attacked at dusk. This was also smashed and the enemy started a general withdrawal. Lt Col Awatere's handling of his Battalion and inspiring leadership were responsible for causing the enemy over one hundred casualties, while his personal bravery and calmness under fire was an example to all ranks."" (Haigh & Polaschek, p30) AWMM
- Military Cross (MC) AWMM
17 June 1943 AWMM
M.C. LG. 17/6/1943 (I) During the attack of 26 March 1943 this officer was in charge of the company which had been given the task of attacking,rapturing and holding at all costs a bit of high ground vital the whole attack and known as Point 209. His company had first to attack a hill feature forward of Point 209 and held in considerable strength by the enemy. This enemy strong point had succeeded in halting the whole momentum of the attack. Several tanks had been knocked out and the remainder were all held up. Without waiting for further instructions, Capt. Awatere, in the face of tremendous odds, calmly went about the task of attacking the enemy position, acting on instructions that had been issued much earlier before the actual situation was known. In the face of very heavy machine-gun and shell- until fire he directed his company on to it's objective himself always to the forefront, directing, encouraging. His company suffered very heavy casualties during the advance up to the hill feature, but Capt. Awatere was undeterred. This officer was wounded during the attack but he steadfastly refused to be evacuated until well into the night, when he was steadfastly refused to be evacuated until well into the night, when he was satisfied that his company had been well positioned on the objective. By superior tactics and great leadership, disdainful of all danger danger, Capt. Awatere led his company onto final victory against overpowering odds. The National Archives. Recommendation for Award for Awatere, Arapeta. (Ref. WO 373/25/91). Military Cross. AWMM
- 1939-1945 Star AWMM
- Africa Star (8th Army clasp) AWMM
- Italy Star AWMM
- Defence Medal AWMM
- War Medal 1939-1945 AWMM
- New Zealand War Service Medal AWMM
POW liberation details
POW serial number
- Appointed Intelligence Officer (IO) of 28 (Maori) Battalion, 11 November 1941.
Promoted to Captain and put in charge of a Company, 25 June 1942.
Commanding Officer (CO) of 28 Battalion, July-August 1944; November 1944 - June 1945.
Member of NZ contingent to Victory Parade, London, UK.
Auckland City Councillor, 1959-69.
Lt-Col A. Awatere, DSO, MC; Rotorua; born Tuparoa, 25 Apr 1910; civil servant; CO 28 Bn Jul-Aug 1944, Nov 1944-Jun 1945; twice wounded. (Source: Cody, J.F. 28 Maori Battalion. p.156.)
'Brigadier Kippenberger had arrived at Hikurangi by this time and he saw that the Maoris were not, as they thought, attacking Point 209. He arranged for a series of divisional artillery concentrations on the hidden objective, impressed on Colonel Bennett not to miss any chance of aggressive action, and then carried on to 23 Battalion where Colonel Romans was instructed to push some of his men forward into a position where fire could be brought down on the rear of the enemy-held area.
In order to enable D and C Companies to change places the battalion mortars put down a smoke screen and by 9 a.m. the relief was completed. Moderate enemy harassing fire went on for another hour and was being replied to by far from moderate artillery ‘stonks’ when a dramatic change came over the battle scene—two German soldiers appeared on the top of Hikurangi with their hands high in the air. A carrier opened fire before the significance of the enemy action was realised and both men fell. One was killed and the other shammed dead. Everybody waited expectantly. Those two were out of luck but perhaps there were others prepared to take a chance. It was not very long before four Germans and a big Red Cross flag appeared. The ‘cease fire’ was ordered and the party, an officer and three other ranks, all wearing Red Cross armbands, was led down to Battalion Headquarters where the CO was waiting to receive them. The German officer in fluent English explained that he was a doctor and the men his stretcher-bearers. He had ninety badly wounded men on the other side of the hill but had run out of bandages and medical supplies. Could we help them? Colonel Bennett rang through to Brigade and Brigadier Kippenberger gave permission for all possible assistance to be rendered. Yes, we would be only too pleased to help.
Captain D'Arcy came over from his RAP and the two doctors discussed the position. It was arranged that rather than send medical supplies to the German RAP, which was in poor shape, the wounded were to be brought over to our lines, where they would receive proper attention before being evacuated to hospital. The doctor mentioned that they had also run out of food. A meal was produced immediately as well as a plentiful supply of cigarettes, both of which were gratefully acknowledged. Did the Maoris have any spare stretchers? Why, certainly, as many as were available. The German doctor was sorry but he did not have enough stretcher-bearers to manage all the wounded. Colonel Bennett was also very sorry but he could not see his way clear to risk the possibility of their being retained by the opposing commander. The doctor would understand? The doctor understood perfectly and thanked the Colonel for his courtesy. As the Germans were about to withdraw Bennett dropped the suggestion that if any of the German soldiers felt like calling it a day they would be guaranteed safe conduct. The doctor promised to pass the message to those concerned.
About midday a long procession with the German doctor at the head wound its way around the base of Hikurangi; some were walking, some were being helped, and others were being carried on stretchers. The Maori rifles were ready but silent, and the procession's only trouble was from odd shells from both sides casually searching the area.
The column reached Battalion Headquarters safely, and the first thing the doctor did was to point to a group of about twenty in the rear. ‘They are not wounded,’ he said, ‘they are surrendering.’
They were soon under guard; then, with the two doctors working side by side and the Maori stretcher-bearers showing their German opposite numbers the way to the ambulances that had by this time arrived, the wounded were cared for. The combatant Germans had clearly had all the fight knocked out of them. Quite voluntarily they said that others were ready to surrender but were afraid of being shot if they came over. They added that the garrison of Point 209 was short of ammunition and supplies and was generally in a bad way. Colonel Bennett decided to attack immediately. Colonel Romans was asked if 23 Battalion could assist and was told that a mortar concentration on the reverse slope would be helpful. Captain Matehaere was ordered to prepare D Company for the assault at 3 p. m. under cover of a concentration that Bennett arranged privately with a British field regiment.
The concentration came down on the dot of three o'clock but not on Point 209. Somebody had got the ranges and directions mixed and B Company shared with 23 Battalion what was meant for the Germans on Point 209. The artillery assistance was called off and D Company went unsupported for its objective. The company was held up at the foot of the hill and Matehaere wirelessed for carrier support to deal with the fire coming down on it from the top of Point 209. Sergeants Walters and Harding9 brought their carriers, each mounting a heavy machine gun, up a wadi between Hikurangi and Point 209, where they drew down on themselves the concentrated fire of the enemy. One wheeled round and advanced on the north while the other carried on towards the south of the objective hill; Matehaere, thus with carrier support on each flank, sent his men climbing Point 209.
By this time D Company had an enthusiastic audience, for most of the battalion had scrambled on to the top of Hikurangi for a ringside view of the proceedings. The enemy, if not too preoccupied with dodging the carriers' hose of machine-gun bullets, must have been at least mildly astonished to see a crowd of cheering, tin-hat-waving troops urging their side on to victory.
The determined advance of D Company was bad enough, but when the opposite hill broke into the rhythm of the stirring haka ‘Ka mate, ka mate’ it was too much and too unorthodox for the Teutonic temperament. One white flag after another began to wave on Point 209, each surrender being followed from Hikurangi by the cheers that would have greeted the winning try in a Ranfurly Shield match.
The Germans had fought bravely and had taken terrible punishment from the artillery, from 23 Battalion, and from the Maoris. There were only 231 prisoners10 from the battalion that had occupied Point 209 with the intention of preventing the forcing of the Tebaga Gap; only one gun was serviceable out of the thirteen mortars and anti-tank guns emplaced there, and there was practically no ammunition left for the survivor; the machine guns were down to their last belt and the automatics to the last clip. It was discovered later that the sight of the two carriers, which were mistaken for tanks, had caused the final collapse.
Maori casualties were not light, 98 in all, 22 of them killed, the rest wounded and nearly all from C Company; but, apart from the damage done by the long-range weapons, the enemy dead were lying one on top of another, with the nearest but a few yards from the Maori line.
Besides the decorations awarded to the rank and file Colonel Bennett received the DSO, Captain Awatere an MC, and Lieutenant Ngarimu a posthumous VC, the first Maori to be so honoured. ' (Source: Cody, J.F. 28 Maori Battalion. pp. 275-278.) AWMM
- For a full Story of the Life of Arapeta Marukitepua Pitapitanuiarangi Awatere refer to website: http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/5a27/awatere-arapeta-marukitepua-pitapitanuiarangi Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 4 January 2016 - http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/5a27/awatere-arapeta-marukitepua-pitapitanuiarangi
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Mihi aroha Kia koe e te tipuna....SALUTE
Public - Raniera - Direct descendant - 30 May 2019
Kia ora e taku tipuna, nga mihi aroha ki a koe, na Atawhai Hei, e 5 aku pakeke.
Public - Atawhai - Direct descendant - 30 May 2018
- Haigh, J., Polaschek, A. (Eds.). (1993). New Zealand and the Distinguished Service Order. Christchurch, N.Z.: Authors. AWMM
- Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1941). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 3 (Embarkations from 1st July, 1940 to 31st March, 1941). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
WW2 3: WW2 21 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
WW2 16: WW2 7 AWMM
- Auckland Star AWMM
Brett, M. (1968, June 3). Man of legend changes his role. Auckland Star. AWMM
- Awatere, A. (2003). Awatere : a soldier's story. Wellington, N.Z.: Huia. AWMM
- Ake ake kia kaha e! [sound recording] : songs of the New Zealand (28) Maori Battalion. (2006). Auckland, N.Z.: New Zealand. Army. Expeditionary Force, 2nd. Battalion, 28. AWMM
- Soutar, M. (2008). Nga tama toa = The price of citizenship : C Company 28 (Maori) Battalion 1939-1945. Albany, N.Z.: David Bateman. AWMM
Portrait published in Soutar (2008) AWMM
- 21 Battalion
(Official history of New Zealand in the Second World War 1939-45) AWMM
- Cody, J. (1956). 28 (Maori) Battalion. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
pp.139, 156, 189, 216, 218-19, 228, 243, 257, 259, 268, 271, 278, 318, 334-6, 395, 397, 401-2, 404, 406-7, 431-2, 434, 437-9, 443, 445, 447-50, 454-5, 458, 460, 463-4, 466, 468-9, 471-6, 478, 481. AWMM
- Kay, R. (1958). 27 (Machine Gun) Battalion. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
pp.424, 433. AWMM
- Murphy, W.E. (1961). The relief of Tobruk. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
- Ross, A. (1959). 23 Battalion. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
- Kay, R. (1967). Italy. Volume 2. From Cassino to Trieste. Dept. of Internal Affairs, Historical Publications Branch, Wellington, N.Z. AWMM
pp.132, 164, 181-2, 187, 313, 325, 497. AWMM
- Stevens, W.G. (1962). Bardia to Enfidaville. Dept. of Internal Affairs, War History Branch, Wellington, N.Z. AWMM
pp.218, 219, 220. AWMM
- Walker, R. (1967). Alam Halfa and Alamein. Dept. of Internal Affairs, Historical Publications Branch, Wellington, N.Z. AWMM
pp.135-7, 149. AWMM
|30 May 2019||Raniera||Hamilton||Direct descendant||
|30 May 2018||Atawhai||Turanga nui a Kiwa||Direct descendant||
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