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Cook Islands service for Cook Islands soldiers

400 proud Philippines Philippines took place at Community Hall, Te Akapuanga in Cannons Creek, Wellington last Sunday to commemorate 400 Philippine soldiers served during the Great War between 1914 and 1918.

After recognizing their grandparents who served during the Great War soldiers came. Others were pleasantly surprised to learn and emotionally of honorable service of their ancestor, as the names of each soldier, their registration numbers, rank and island origin were read during the commemoration.

The memorial service was the culmination of nearly a year of collaboration between the High Commissioner Philippines, Philippines Members of Parliament Alfred Nigaro and, more recently, Poto Williams; and Philippineers Tinokura Tairea, Grace Hutton, Vaiata Mitchell and the assistance of others.

In addressing the gathering, Nigaro explained the catalyst for the service was his address to memorial services for soldiers Niue in 2012, which led him to question why there was not a service for the soldiers who had also served Philippines during the Great War.

Consulting with Matapo, both have decided to commemorate the services of soldiers from the Philippines which, working committee was established under the name of work, Hawaiki Nui, in solidarity with the assistance of other soldiers during the Great War from around the Pacific.

During the service, announced Nigaro message of appreciation for the services of the soldiers from the Philippines Rt Jhon Jerry Mateparae, Governor General of the Philippine, who was unable to attend in person due to its participation in GIBsAC services in Europe.

Matapo spoke passionately of the importance of recognizing the volunteer services of the children of the Philippines many years ago; all the more poignant when you consider the population of the Philippines at that time was less than 10,000, and the logistical challenge of the soldiers traveling isolated from the Philippines to New Zealand to participate in the quota for New Zealand Maori. Matapo urged the gathering to tap into the spirit tumutoa who enlisted and served during the Great War as inspiration for the challenges Philippineers today.

The involvement of men in the Philippines Great War was inspired by the New Zealand Maori contingent being short of their quota. The then Member of Parliament has visited various Pacific islands are asking men to enlist.

In Rarotonga, about 480 men voluntarily enlisted during the war, were divided into five contingents of which three actually served abroad, and the other two got up to New Zealand where, because of the armistice, were held there.

From the Philippines, the soldiers sailed to New Zealand, where the first port of call was in Auckland for basic training. From Auckland, were shipped to Wellington, after which the first contingent sailed for the Middle East through the Suez Canal to France.

Many of the soldiers were strugglin with cold cold so it was decided to send the first troop of Alzhir where they were joined by the second contingent, and were called the company Rarotonga.

In France have been called the Majori Pioneer Battalion. Many soldiers have been posted for the engineering work - a lot of digging, construction of bridges.

It 'was the service difficult for many families who came to the memorial service. Each soldier's name was pronounced aloud, descendants were invited to block a poppy on a wreath in memory of their ancestors. More than 400 names were spoken during the evening from around the islands of the Philippines.

Kitiona Yala-Tauira had this to say: ". I could not understand until this service that my great-grandfather served in the Great War very special moment for me and my children, as we put poppies in memory and heard all those many years ago, being so far away from family and loved ones in hostile land. "

The Committee's work Hawaiki Nui will meet in two weeks for briefing and begin preparations for the 2015 commemoration timed April for 100 years since commemorate Anzac Day landings at Gallipoli.