Last surviving commissioned officer of the Māori battalion has died.
He was a Dinkum Purler and in a Radio series of that name he speaks of his years growing up in the Chatham Islands, of his early Moriori ancestors and his time with Colonel Awatere at Casino during WWII and the horrors of that war.
I interviewed him just before the Millennium, and he was the most wonderful man, modest, unassuming, with a great sense of humour.
You can listen to the interview here:
Having a dear and companionable friend is what makes life worth living don’t you think? And that’s what Sheila was.
She was a most delightfully unusual person
deeply soaked in that tough Stewart Island background she’d come from. Whalers and sealers who had married into Maori families. People with names like Jacka Lee, Yankee Smith Black Swan, Manuel Gomez and Ned the Nailer.
Both she and Gilbert would say of themselves.” We are Foveaux Strait. A very mixed crew. Down here we think of people by name not by whether they’re Maori or Pakeha.”
I’ve known Sheila since the 1990s when in desperation I asked her to introduce me to Stewart Island families whom she thought I should interview for my radio series Dinkum Purlers. People whose blood was worth bottling.
Continue reading Who was the Sheila I knew
For the past few months I have been working with the wonderful Wellington printer, Wayne Mallo of Valley Print in Petone, to produce an updated and enlarged version of my book “Old Thorndon : Four Walkaways through Wellington’s Historic Thorndon.” (Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and Thorndon its oldest suburb, still breathes an air of the past.)
“I’m biased about Thorndon and I want you to love it as much as I do.” – Dinah
Continue reading Old Thorndon – fresh off the press, updated and enlarged