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Beni Banaba
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Papa Beni was a brother to my great-grandmother Tiavake, and my great-grandaunt who brought me up, Haumata (Mama Mata). Every Armistice Day (11 November) Mama Mata would make a wreath and we would go and lay it at the Fare Ture in Rakahanga to commemorate those few who went to war from Rakahanga. Papa Beni had gone to Rarotonga from Rakahanga at a young age, to attend the London Missionary Society College, following in the footsteps of his father Banaba and grandfather Aporo who had both been ministers. I think about how young Papa Beni was when he went to war in Egypt and Palestine, then how sad it was that he died at the age of 26. I do not know if he had any children, but don't think he did. I am very grateful for the 500 Cook Islands Soldiers project as it has highlighted the huge contribution that our men made to the war. We will not forget you Papa Beni.