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28 (Maori) Battalion


page vii


It is not always easy to see things as others see them—the obstacles multiply when there is a difference in racial outlook. The writer, a pakeha, approached the job of writing the Official History of 28 (Maori) Battalion with some trepidation. The story, at both divisional and battalion level, is as accurate as careful research and detailed checking by officers of the War History Branch can make it, and my thanks are due to them. But there are occasions, the bayonet charge at 42nd Street is one of them, where no amount of probing could reconcile the stories of the participants, all of whom are quite definite that their version is the correct one. I have taken the middle course, the course in which lies the greatest amount of accord. I have been fortunate in inheriting a considerable amount of work done by Lieutenant-Colonel Bennett, Captain Wikiriwhi, and Sergeant-Major Nepia; particularly the last, who was battalion historian in Italy and who has placed on record the particulars of actions as soon as possible after the events took place. In this connection I am grateful to the officers, junior and senior, who took so much trouble in answering my questionnaires and who made their diaries available to me. Lieutenant-Colonel Baker, chairman of the 28th (Maori) Battalion unit history committee, was most helpful both in his official capacity and as an actor in much of the drama up to the time of his evacuation when wounded.

I have felt it a privilege to write the history of this magnificent battalion.

J. F. Cody

Wellington 29 February 1956
page viii