Maori Soldiers Go To War
The Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand. They have worked out treaties broken by the British for the past 50 years with as much success as most indigenous tribes have, while witnessing a decline in population has. By 1891 Māori comprised just 10% of the population but still owned 17% of the land, although much of it was of poor quality.
But despite mixed feeling about fighting for the British, Maori recruits for Britain’s struggle with Germany has prompted many Maori men, a warrior class, to sign up for service. It is at first suggested that the Māori Native Contingent be sent to Samoa, newly captured from Germany. But New Zealand Administrator Robert Logan cabled the government warning that a Pacific native regiment might provoke the Samoan population to form their own army.
On February 14, 1915 a Native Contingent of about 500 men left Wellington, New Zealand aboard the SS Warrimoo. Although Samoa would have been closer and more familiar for the troops, British Military wisdom has chosen that this group of soldiers will be stationed in…..Egypt! The jungle soldiers can only wonder what awaits them in the foreign desert destination.