Nolan Raihana, one of the last surviving veterans of the 28th Maori Battalion, has died aged 89 years old. Mr Raihana, of Ngati Porou was a former President of the Maori Battalion Association and was just 17 years old when he enlisted to fight in Italy with the Battalions C Company in 1944.
Historian Monty Soutar told Radio New Zealand that "He was a very good singer and he picked up some of the Italian tunes and, like many of the Māori soldiers who came back, sang them back here and was very well known around these parts for singing Italian war songs."
Mr Soutar said he was lucky to have travelled abroad to commemorative ceremonies three times with Mr Raihania.
"He was a great guy to have with you because he was free and willing to share his experiences," he said.