Courage Under Fire Remembered

Maori WW2 hero Lance Sgt. Haane Manahi has been posthumously honoured by the Queen, 64 years after being denied the Commonwealth’s top gallantry award, the Victoria Cross. The Duke of York presented Manahi’s son, Geoffrey, with a ceremonial sword, altar cloth and a citation from the Queen at an official ceremony in Rotorua. “Today I and all of us here, pay tribute to Haane Manahi but also honour the Te Arawa people and the 28th Maori Battalion from which Haane drew strength and inspiration,” said Defence Minister Phil Goff. Manahi was previously awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal for his role in the battle for Takrouna, a fortified citadel in Tunisia, in 1943. He was recommended for a Victoria Cross by four commanding generals at the time. “In my opinion it was the most gallant feat of arms I witnessed in the course of the war and I was bitterly disappointed when Sgt. Manahi, whom we recommended for a VC, only received a DCM,” Lieut. Gen. Sir Brian Horrocks, Manahi’s wartime commander, wrote earlier. Manahi died in 1986 but his family has continued to fight for his Victoria Cross. The Queen refused an official approach from PM Jenny Shipley in 1997 because her father, King George VI, had declared that no more WW2 awards for bravery would be made after 1949. Instead, the Queen decided to issue a special citation for bravery.

Tags: International Herald Tribune  Lance Sgt. Haane Manahi  Phil Goff