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Pekama Kaa

Full length photograph of Captain Pekama Kaa 16/620 in uniform. Image kindly provided by Elizabeth Ellis (October 2017). Image has no known copyright restrictions.

Full length photograph of Captain Pekama Kaa 16/620 in uniform. Image kindly provided by Elizabeth E …


Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    7 November 1894 Military Personnel File Waiapu RiverEast Cape Military Personnel File
  • Date of birth
    7 November 1894 Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 8 January 2016 - Military Record
  • Place of birth
    Waiapu, East Coast, NZ Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 8 January 2016 - Military Record
  • Birth notes
    Son of Panikena and Matewa Kaa, of Rangitukia Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 8 January 2016 - Military Record
  • Address before enlistment
    WW1 Pre 12 June 1915 AWMM Tuparoa, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW1 Panikena Kaa (father), Rangitukia, via Gisborne, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Pre 18 September 1915 AWMM Single/WWI AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
    Egyptian E F & Western European Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 8 January 2016 - Military record
  • Armed force / branch
    • Army AWMM
    • NZ Maori Pioneer Battalion Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 8 January 2016 - Military record
  • Service number
    WWI 16/620 AWMM
  • Military service
    1915-1917 Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 8 January 2016 - Military record
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    1914-1915 Star
    British War & Victory Medals
    Plaque & Scroll # 506869 Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 10 February 2016 - Military Record

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    • WW1 12 June 1915 AWMM AWMM
    • 14 Nov 1914 at Avondale
      9 June 1915 at Te Araroa Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 8 January 2016 - Military record
  • Occupation before enlistment
    Sheep Work Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 8 January 2016 - Military Record
  • Age on enlistment
    20yrs & 21yrs Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 8 January 2016 - Military record


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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
    Killed in Action, Cause of Death AWMM

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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    • Son of Panikena and Matewa Kaa, of Rangitukia, Waiapu.

      Gained Second Lieutenant's commission on 1 September 1915 (Studholme 1928).

      Promoted to Captain on 7 August 1917 (Studholme 1928). AWMM
    • Poverty Bay Herald, Volume XLIV, Issue 14452, 12 November 1917, Page 7
      Corporal Walter Heany, of the N.Z. Pioneers, writing to his mother, Mrs. Donald Gordon, of Gisborne, gives the first details that have been received respecting the death of Lieut A.P Kaipara and a number of other East Coast members of the Pioneers. The writer explains that the battalion went out wiring a stronghold that the New Zealanders had taken from the Germans. Fritz had made things very warm for them since, Corporal Heany remarks. The Pioneers got to within 100 yards of where they had to erect the entanglements, when Fritz opened up on them. The boys halted for it awhile, and then moved through shell fire to their sector. Shells were thrown all around them, and machine gun fire was turned on, this being about 1.3O a.m. The writer, details the circumstances under which Bill Morris, of Gisborne (wounded), was carried out to, the dressing station. On the way back they were up to their waists in mud, and Fritz concentrated fire on them, thus delaying them a good deal. The shells were bashing in the trenches and ploughing through the mud in the shell fire was a trying experience. Patience, however, got them through safely, though they were all fairly exhausted. Lieut. Kaipara rushed along and requested them 'to go back for Ehau, another Gisbornite who was wounded in the leg. As there was no one else he and his mate went back again with Kaipara. They were fairly beaten, and shells were falling worse than ever. Kaipara kept urging them to hurry, but they were so done up they could hardly for dear life lift their legs out of the boggy ground. Frequently they had to put the stretcher down, and then shells would burst near them, the concussion knocking them over in the mud. Eventually his mate dragged himself back to get fresh men, and he could hear Ehau calling "Come on, Heany" but he was completely knocked up. It was then that Kaipara dropped, shot through the head by a piece of shell. The writer went on to say that he had simply to lie down in the mud with the pathetic words still ringing in his ears and cursing himself for being unable to carry on. Subsequently he managed to drag himself out and to get fresh men to carry the wounded out. Two nights later they went out again to dig a trench and about midnight Fritz poured shells into them again. One shell came into the trench and killed Viv Ruru and another chap who had just joined up, besides wounding Trotter and Maharangi Pohatu. Heany was placed in charge to carry Trotter down to the dressing station, where he learned than Kaa, the Ngati Porou officer was killed, also Winiana and Dick Hale (corporal of the section). The party was carrying out one of the fellows (killed), when a shell landed right in the middle of them. With an officer, the writer went back and found their bodies, which were brought in and laid to rest. All were Gisborne and Coast boys. Donald Cameron was killed the same night as Kaipara. The casualties during the two nights were Killed, Lieutenants P Kaa, Kaipara, Cameron, and MacNeil, Corporal Hale, Privates V. Ruru, A. Kopua, Winiana. wounded: -Lieutenant J Ehau, Privates R. Trotter. W. Morris, Manuel, M. Pohatu, and P Kingi Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 20 July 2015 - Poverty Bay Herald, Volume XLIV, Issue 14452, 12 November 1917, Page 7
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About death

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  • Death
    14 August 1917 AWMM
    Age 23 AWMM
    YpresBelgium AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    II.G.10., Kandahar Farm Cemetery, Heuvelland, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
    Lieutenant Pekama Rongoaia Kaa, who recently died of wounds in France, was a descendant of a notable line of Maori warriors of the Ngati Porou tribe. He was educated at the Rangitukia school, where he won the Makanui scholarship. Two years later he entered the Department of Agriculture. He enlisted in the first Maori Contingent, and was given a commission in the Second Contingent. Lieutenant Kaa was fatally wounded while directing the movements of the Ngati Porou platoons. (Auckland Weekly News, 20 September 1917, p. 19)

    By the death in action on August 14th of Lieut. P. Kaa, the Maoris have lost not only a splendid officer, but a true friend, and there are many sad hearts among them, especially in the Ngatiporou, his own tribe. From childhood he has been a straightforward, honourable character, and as an officer his men have ever been his first consideration. Educated, in the first place, at Rangitukia Native School, he passed on to Te Aute College, and at the close of his two years' course there, he passed the Junior Civil Service examination. The story of his death, as told me by one of his men who is now in hospital, is as follows:- He and several of his men were caught by shell fire while in a very awkward sector of trench. Some were killed outright, and Lieut. Kaa and several others were wounded. He resolutely refused to allow the stretcher-bearers to lift him until his wounded men were carried to safety. Before he could be rescued, another shell burst, and he was killed on the spot. To our limited vision, it seems as if an officer like this can ill be spared; but the example of his life lived, and finally given for others, will always be of inestimable value to those who knew him. 'Heoi, e oku teina, kia whai kaha koutou i roto i té Ariki.' – S. M. L. (Chronicles of the N.Z.E.F., 5 September 1917, p. 27) AWMM
  • Memorial name
    • Tikitiki Church War Memorial
      Gisborne's War Memorial Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 8 January 2016 - Research
    • An image of Henare Mokena Kohere & Pekama Kaa in Tikitiki St Mary's Church's stained glass windows Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 8 January 2016 -
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name
    Auckland War Memorial Museum, World War 1 Hall of Memories AWMM

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  • Our mother District Nurse Emere Makere Waiwaha Kaa Mountain 1901-1996 QSO JP was a younger sister of Captain Pekama Kaa. She always missed her cherished brother who was estimated to be 23 when he was killed in action. Emere keenly felt the loss of her precious brother and named our brother and her first born Walter Pekama Kaa Mountain 1939-1999. One of Walter's daughters, Vanessa Mountain, has named one of her sons Pekama.
    Public - Elizabeth Aroha - Direct descendant - 25 April 2016
  • Always remembered...
    Public - Pamela - Other relative - 25 April 2016
  • At the dawn of the day....we shall remember them. A selfless dutiful man, forever etched in our minds a hero. Arohanui Belinda.
    Public - Belinda - Other Relative - 26 April 2015



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Command item
Command item
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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
02 October 2022Lorraine MonaGisborneResearcher
25 April 2016Elizabeth ArohaBirkenhead AucklandDirect descendant
25 April 2016PamelaAuckland New ZealandOther relative
10 February 2016Lorraine MGisborne, NZResearcher
26 April 2015BelindaAucklandOther Relative

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