20 Dec 1916 – Poverty Bay Herald - LETTER FROM HOSPITAL.
A Maori N.C.O. wrote in October from a Birmingham hospital to his sister on the Coast: "I am lying in a Birmingham hospital. I was wounded in the thigh a shell burst over me and many others. Lieut. Kohere was also hit, Rara Kaiwai, of Tuparoa, was killed outright. I daresay you have heard all about it. I had to undergo an operation in France: where they extracted the piece of shell that got into me. Rutene Reihana was also hit by the same shell. He kept going for a long time before he knew he was hit. Not the case with me. It did not take me long to realise something was the matter with me. I managed to crawl into Lieuts Kaa and Kohere's dug-out, where I found our captain, a little imp educated at Te Aute also. He was wondering and asking whether the place was bomb-proof. Of course I wasn't troubling whether the place was bombproof or not — was glad to get any kind of shelter; I started dressing, my wounds as best as I could. Not long after Lieut. Kohere was brought in— he was groaning about his boys who were caught by the same shell.
Indeed, he was like a father to us all, at all times. Before we were taken away he got a promise from our Colonel and Major Buck that Lieut. Kaa would take his place. At the present moment I don't know where Lieut. Kohere is or any of the other boys are. (Lieut. Kohere died in England two days after receiving his wounds. Ed.) My wounds are improving. I am the only Maori in this ward and it is pretty lonely for me. Don't you worry about me, I am all right. I wonder if you and Wai could send me some dried paua 'for my Christmas dinner. It would be rather nice to have something to remind one of home and the old times."
Poverty Bay Herald, Volume XLII, Issue 13825, 27 October 1915, Page 10
A letter from Private Rutene Reihana, of the Maori Contingent, to his mother at Rangitukia, East Coast, written from Port Said, and dated August 25th, states:- "I am writing because I have been thinking so much of you lately. A confess my thoughts had not always turned homewards. I have been wounded— a Turkish bullet went through my leg— this has turned my thoughts home Ward. When we left home, I confess, what weighed most with me was not so much the thought of leaving you as seeing the world and meeting with strange experiences. Now suffering has turned my thoughts to you. Grieve not, 1 came, for this purpose and at the command of the people. We have done very well. Mother, I have been very lucky so far to escape the shelly of the enemy. Shrapnel burst very close to me, and I was hit. While I was lying unconscious I was borne away by the pakeha bearers and placed under some trees.
When I came round I found quite a number of wounded lying beside me. Then I was carried to the hospital by the Maori boys. It is terrible here, there’s fighting everywhere in the air, under the sea and on land. Sometimes yoiu can't see anything for the smoke from the guns. My wish is to go further than the shores of the Mediterranean. You know we are nearer England than we are to New Zealand. If it be His will we shall meet again in fact, I have the feeling we must meet again. But for my wound I am all right. The nurses are grand. We are having nice food now; a change from the Gallipoli diet of biscuits and bully beef washed down with cold water and that not the best. I am not grumbling. We are playing our part proving ourselves worthy sons of our fathers - doing what is expected of us by our pakeha friends. While we were in Egypt great pakehas came to see us and gave us words of exhortation. I must finish this now as I am coming to the end of my tether. Mother, part of my pay is sent to you and I wonder if you can lay aside a bit of that so by and by we shall be able we shall be able to put a small stone over my father’s grave. With this request I close. Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 20 September 2015 - Poverty Bay Herald 20 Dec 1916 & 27 Oct 1915