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´╗┐Title: Corporal Tikitanu V.C.
Author: Fussell, J. C.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Corporal Tikitanu V.C." ***

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produced from scans of public domain works at The National
Library of Australia.)



                        Corporal Tikitanu, V.C.,

                                   BY

                             J. C. FUSSELL

          (Author of "Letters from Private Henare Tikitanu.")


                               AUCKLAND:
              Worthington & Co., Printers, Albert Street.

                                 1918.



    Cover design by permission of Proprietors Auckland Weekly News.



                       [Illustration: CONTENTS.]

        CHAP.                                               PAGE

        I. FROM ELOPEMENT TO ENLISTMENT                  ...   5

        II. OFF TO THE WAR                   ...         ...  10

        III. THE LITTLE FRENCH NURSE         ...         ...  15

        IV. A CHAT WITH THE NURSE            ...         ...  21

        V. A LETTER TO THE KAISER            ...         ...  27

        VI. A PRISONER           ...         ...         ...  32

        VII. EARNING THE V.C.                ...         ...  38

        VIII. HOME AGAIN!                    ...         ...  46



                                  _I._

                     FROM ELOPEMENT TO ENLISTMENT.


The first time I remember catching sight of Henare Tikitanu was when he
was acting as referee at a dog-fight in a Maori village in the Waikato
district.

[Illustration]

The dog-fight was no concern of mine. I was just riding past when my
attention was drawn to Henare. He was endeavouring to see fair play for
both the combatants. He was very excited over the affair because another
Maori, named Wiremu, was hampering one dog by pulling his tail.

After fruitlessly yelling at Wiremu for some time in classical Maori,
Henare suddenly relapsed into pidgin-English, and fired this volley at
him: "Py cripes, you te ploomin' ole taurekareka,--tinkin' fish--all
right. You no good for te fight. More better your ole woman drown you in
te hot mud hole when you te piccanini. Gar!"

Then they flew into each other's arms and settled it that way. The dogs
looked up in surprise, retired to a safe distance, and watched the
proceedings, giving an occasional bark of encouragement.

Henare won. He deserved to, for he was a clean fighter and a true sport.

This event happened about two years before the Great War broke out, when
Henare was eighteen. So it was not surprising that he should have been
one of the first of the Waikato tribe to volunteer for service at the
front, when he had reached twenty-three.

But he had his difficulties. You see he had a sweetheart named Kiri, a
fine Maori maiden of twenty; and Wiremu wanted her. Henare and Kiri had
been sweethearts from early school-days, and they rather laughed at
Wiremu's aspirations. But if Henare went to the war, it might be
different. During their moonlight rambles along the banks of the dark
and silent Waikato river, Henare and Kiri talked the matter over.
He said he would enlist if they could be secretly married first. He said
he would feel more settled, and more disposed to fight, as his
forefathers fought of old, inspired by the love and admiration of his
wahine.

[Illustration]

Kiri was undecided. The war might be long; the distance to France was
great; the dangers and risks were many.

Henare naively chaffed her by saying that he might pick up an American
heiress away over in Paris if she did not marry him before he enlisted.
That settled it. Before they left the shade of a beautiful pohutukawa
one charming summer's evening they fixed the day and made their
plans--talking to one another in soft and musical Maori.

"You will be true to your absent warrior as he fights beside his Pakeha
brothers, adding fresh glories to the honour of the noble Maori race?"

"Yes, my brave Tikitanu. Your Kiri will be with you in heart and spirit
day and night until your return to the fair land which holds in its
bosom the bodies of our noble heroes of days gone by."

A few gentle and poetic words like these made them both feel rather
sentimental and emotional, so they solemnly rubbed noses and went back
to the kianga.

These two dusky lovers decided on a secret marriage at Ngaruawahia in a
fortnight's time. Kiri was to go by road to the place, and Henare by
train from Mercer.

The appointed day dawned bright and fine, and Kiri arrived at
Ngaruawahia in proper style half-an-hour late. But there was no sign of
Henare.

[Illustration]

As a matter of fact he did not turn up at all, for he got a bit excited
at Mercer, and as there were two trains standing end to end at the
station he entered the wrong carriage and got out at Pukekohe, about
thirty or forty miles in the wrong direction.

They met again in about two days' time, and after a good deal of both
tender and violent Maori talk, sprinkled with pidgin-English, the matter
was patched up.

However, they dropped the elopement idea, rubbed noses duly and
canonically, and Henare went off and enlisted as a soldier of the King.
But he was anxious about his old enemy Wiremu.



                                 _II._

                            OFF TO THE WAR.


The relatives of Henare and Kiri were very proud of Henare in his new
uniform, and they told him that he must prove himself worthy of the hand
of Kiri, the Maori princess, and grand-daughter of a great warrior
chief.

Henare looked at himself in the glass and felt that he was worthy of
her, or any other princess, already. He did not want to seem too cheap,
because there was Wiremu to be reckoned with.

He enjoyed the camp life, the drills and parades, and entered into
soldiering with as much ease and good will, as if he had been born to
it.

The general opinion of the officers was that Tiki (or "Dickie" as they
nick-named him) would give a good account of himself at the front.

It was a great day in Wellington when the first batch of Maori
volunteers embarked on the grey troopship. Henare and his mates were
bubbling over with fun and excitement. The cheering crowds of Pakehas
and Maoris, the fluttering flags, and the cheerful music of the bands,
made them all feel that they were off to a grand old picnic. They
laughed and joked, and sang until they were hoarse.

A few hours later, however, things did not look so bright. These Maori
lads had never been away from New Zealand before, and it was sad to see
their beloved land sinking out of sight into the deep blue ocean.

When the last trace had disappeared, Henare, leaning over the vessel's
side, said to Honi in a hoarse whisper: "My korry, Noo Zealan' all gone
now." Honi replied with affected cheerfulness: "Nemine, he jump up again
bimeby," and then walked away.

All the boys tried to make out that they were not seasick, and poked
themselves away into all sorts of nooks and corners to conceal the fact.

Henare thought that up in the rigging would be a good place, but they
soon chased him out of that. He then leant over the taffrail and mused
of home and Kiri.

A voyage to England in these days is eventful for anyone, but it was
very much more so for the Maori boys.

When they had settled down to the routine of life on a troopship, they
became keenly interested in it all and never had a "dull" day.

The first port of call filled them with much excitement and
gratification--and a thirst for further adventures.

Henare rather prided himself on his letter-writing, and seized every
opportunity to exercise his "gift." He disdained to write in his native
language, but preferred "te good Englan' talk" even when writing to
Maoris. At the first port he posted several letters to friends in New
Zealand. One was to Kiri and another was to Wiremu.

To Kiri he wrote, among other things:

    "I no forget about you yet, t'that why I write t'this letter,
    tell you no forget me. More better you have te British soldier
    than te frightened bloke like Wiremu stoppin' away from te
    fight. T'this ole troopship take us over te sea all right, and
    when te war all over he bring us back an' t'then I marry you
    pretty quick."

To Wiremu he wrote:--

    "Py cripes, you look out when I come back if you talk too much
    wid te Kiri. She no belong to you. She my wahine all right. No
    good yer trick, you better come to te war; no stop home spoilin'
    te dog fight and try take another feller gel when him away in
    Shermany. Me te crack shot now so you look out."

After a voyage of nine weeks without serious mishap the Maoris landed in
England "All well," and ready for the Huns.

[Illustration]



                                 _III._

                        THE LITTLE FRENCH NURSE.


It was not very long before the Maori boys, who had gone straight to old
England, were drafted across to France, and they were soon in the thick
of the Great War, fighting for all they were worth.

Henare was well to the fore, and it was often remarked that he would
soon distinguish himself or know the reason why.

In fact, all the Maori boys were as keen and fearless as any of their
Pakeha comrades, and made a deep impression on all the officers and men
about them--and on the Germans in front of them too!

At every turn Henare proved himself a wag, a wit, and a hero. He caused
many a hearty laugh by his quaint comments on the Anglo-French
gibberish, and the churned up conditions of the country--"Py korry
t'this country like te kramble egg on tose." He called the mixed-up
speech "te half-caste langwidge."

But everyone was cheerful and witty on that battlefront--though
sometimes there was a grim lull in the fun; just before a battle, and in
the thick of it. The wittiest men fought the most desperately, but saved
their wit for a pick-me-up afterwards.

[Illustration]

During an awful fight over shell-holes and battered trenches, Henare was
too eager and daring, and the result was a bad wound in the chest by a
fragment of shell. He was unconscious and bleeding profusely when picked
up by the Red Cross men, so, after first aid, he was conveyed with all
speed to the base hospital. He soon became delirious and was not
expected to recover.

One night about twelve o'clock he opened his eyes and glared at an
attendant standing near his bunk. Then, without a moment's warning, he
sprang up and grabbed the attendant by the throat yelling at the top of
his voice, "Py Hori, you bally ole nigger Wiremu, I catch you t'this
time." With some trouble he was put back to bed again, and relapsed into
unconsciousness.

[Illustration]

The next time he awoke, a pretty little French nurse, Marie Bouvard, was
sitting by and watching him. She was just a slim little thing, more like
a girl of seventeen than a woman of twenty-one. She was a born nurse,
her very presence always did the sufferers good. Her voice was soft and
healing, her touch was gentle and sympathetic, and her footsteps were
like the falling of the snow.

When Marie smiled she was at her best, for her solemn little face
brightened up like a sudden burst of sunshine on the flowers.

Henare watched her calmly for some time without moving, then he closed
his eyes, and the man in the next bed heard him murmur,--

"Py ... korry, Py ... korry, I tink I got to Heaven at lars ... t'that
the angel face all right ... you bet."

                               * * * * *

It is not surprising that under the care of a nurse like the little
French Marie, the Maori hero gradually recovered. When he had reached a
certain stage of recovery, he did not appear to be particularly anxious
to progress any further. Most of Marie's patients felt like that. It
meant parting with the charming little nurse, and they dreaded it.

Henare was no exception, though, be it said, Kiri was never far from his
thoughts. But Marie simply fascinated him, and really the nurse herself
became very much attached to the noble brown boy from England's far off
Maoriland. He had been such a splendid patient, and such a grand "case"
too.

As time went on, during Henare's convalescence, he and Marie became at
least very good friends, and always enjoyed one another's company, and
whatever conversation it was possible for them to have, with
Anglo-French and pidgin-Maori as the medium.

In the middle of this pretty romance, Henare got a letter from Kiri, and
it had a steadying effect upon his emotions. For patriotic reasons it
was written in pidgin-Maori. Partly it ran,--

    "I hope you no get kill too quick yet. Wiremu no good for me, he
    te shirker bloke. T'that why I want you come back without te
    shot. Wiremu tell my mother all te Parani gell want to marry te
    Maori soldier. No you get up to that trick with me.

    Good-bye, come back quick when you beat te Sherman. I wait."

                                                      KIRI x x x x x

[Illustration]



                                 _IV._

                         A CHAT WITH THE NURSE.


Seated cosily in an easy chair, with Marie near by at work on some
bandages, Henare was listening most attentively to her efforts to tell
him some of the dreadful sufferings of France in the early days of the
war.

It took him all his time to make out what she said. The scene was a
sadly busy one. There were several interruptions, many were coming and
going all the time. Fresh batches of broken and groaning men were being
brought in every hour; and restored men were taking farewell of nurses
and friends before returning to the slaughter.

The cannon-boom could be distinctly heard day and night, but it
disturbed no one at the hospital, for they had grown accustomed to it.

All the while Marie was talking, in the midst of this strange sad scene,
the irregular punctuation kept on.

Boom--boom . . . . boom . . . . boom--boom--boom.

With many a shrug of the shoulders, and many a shake of her pretty head,
Marie related to Henare all she dared of the brutal and revolting
conduct of the Germans when first they swept over the border. She told
him of the coarseness, the drunkenness, and the bullying of all ranks
and grades of the invading Huns.

Every now and again Henare ground his teeth, and muttered "Py cripes; I
pay him out," and "Te taipo, te bally taipo." When he heard as much as
he could stand, he ventured the remark, "I tink the Sherman soldier no
hurt te gell and te woman, eh?"

Marie looked at him a moment, and then said, "What you say, M'sieur?"

"I say te ole brute no hurt te wahine an' te piccanini--te woman an' te
gell"--he answered slowly.

"Oh dear me," said Marie in real surprise, "did you nefar read ze
newspaper?"

"Oh, my korry," he replied, "I can't read te Prenchy langwidge, all te
word spell wrong, and te talk all silly."

"No, no, no, M'sieur, ze French speech ees ze most beauteeful in all ze
land."

"Werra, where te Maori come in?"

"Ah!"

"Eh?"

When left to himself the manly Maori boy pictured up the whole scene as
well as he could, and longed to get back to the trench--or over the
parapet--to pay out the demons who had outraged Marie's noble people. He
was getting well unusually quickly, and though loth to leave the charmed
spot, he felt that he would soon be fit to fight again. He was busy
thinking out all kinds of plans for getting even with the Huns; and he
formed a mental picture of the Kaiser which was not very complimentary
to that potentate. Henare saw him as a big villain with short, sharp
horns above his ears, to match his upturned moustache; small wicked
eyes, and a big mouth, with little tusks protruding.

[Illustration]

This image was very vivid to Henare's native imagination, and he
muttered to himself, "Py cripes, that him all right; he just want te cow
feet and te monkey tail, then he te ole taipo, straight."

                               * * * * *

A week after his chat with the little French nurse, Henare was passed as
fit for service again. He had made many friends, both French and
English, around the hospital; so on the day of his departure he hunted
up each one and solemnly shook hands and said "good-bye." He came to
Marie last of all. She was standing just outside the big, sunlit
doorway, watching the far off train of waggons slowly bringing in
another batch of wounded men. Her sweet little Frenchy face looked
dreadfully serious--but she turned round with that sunny smile of hers
when Henare spoke.

He shuffled nervously, gave a funny little cough, that he ought to have
been ashamed of as a "Maori brave," then held out his hand and said, "So
long, Marie, I go back now. My korry, you make me get well too quick."

She put her head picturesquely on one side, took hold of the brown hand
held out to her, and said, "Au revoir, Henri; I hope you weel be vera
safe."

Henare felt queer. Sensations passed all over him that he had never
known before. The impulse was to pick up this lovely French doll and run
right away with it. But he pulled himself up and said, "Py cripes, I
better go, I tink," and he bolted.

On the way back to the lines a New Zealander was chaffing Henare about
Marie, and asking him whether he was going to hand over Kiri to Wiremu.

"No ploomin fear," he replied, "Not me."

"What about Marie, then?"

Henare stopped short and said--

"I tell you bout that, mate. I like to have Marie just for te pretty
doll. She te beauty, py cripes, yeh. When she put te head on one side an
smile, she mak me feel wery funny on te shest, t'that all!"



                                  _V._

                        A LETTER TO THE KAISER.


"Hey boss, what te name of t' place where te Kaiser stop?"

"Potsdam."

"Eh? No fear! T'that te bally swear word."

"No it's not, Dicky; that's the place all right."

"Oh, py korry, I no like to put t'that on te letter; te gell in te Post
Oppis might see him."

The officer whom Henare addressed laughed heartily, and said--

"Your compunction is evidently due to the refining influence of Nurse
Bouvard, eh?"

"Oh, go on, you got te rat," he replied.

When he was quite convinced about the Kaiser's address, Henare proceeded
to make use of his "gift" at letter-writing for an attack on him by
post.

                            To Kaiser Pilly,

                                        Potdam.

    I been come all te way from Noo Zeelan to fight te Sherman
    soldier in Parani and make him clear outer t'this country. When
    I come here some feller been tell me all about t'that dirty
    trick all te Sherman been up to in Parani an Peljimi. No good
    you say t'that all gammon, it te true talk all right. What te
    taipo you want to make te wery big fight for? More better you
    keep your ole Sherman soldier in Shermany--t'that te place for
    him. Py cat, he not fit for go any more place--cept herra.

    I tink you te bally ole fool you tink you goin to beat Englan.
    No good for you try t'that game.

    What about te Maori? He not too many, but py korry he te beggar
    for the fight.

    What about te Pritis Navy? He chase every ploomin Sherman ship
    off te sea; an keep te Sherman navy in te wery safe
    place--friten to come out.

    What about te wery strong tank, an te wery quick harepeni flyin
    about everywhere?

    Py cripes, you te wery bad ole man make all te fight for
    nothing. You goin to get lick bimeby.

    What te good of t'that silly bloke you got over there--te Klown
    Prince? he no good for te fight, only for te smoke an te peer.

    Now, I tell you what we goin to do, straight. We goin to keep on
    t'this fight till all you Sherman bloke plown up sky-high. You
    want ter fight te Pritis; werra, py korry, you got ter fight to
    te finish up now. No time ter stop an spit on yer hands--got to
    keep on wid te war widout te holiday. No ploomin harmitis
    (armistice) for te Pritis--we know t'that trick all right.

    If you had enough an want ter stop te bally fight, I tell yer
    what yer goterdo: Clear out of Parani an Peljimi, an all te
    place where ye got no ploomin right to stop in; pay all te
    peoples for te house an te pretty church you been burn an break
    him down; give Englan all t'that navy which he hidin away in te
    dark; an, t'then dont you try t'this dirty trick any more, or py
    cripes you get wipe off te map nex time. T'this letter no te
    humbug, he te true talk; you find that out bimeby all right. Py
    cripes, you goin ter get it straight for the start this wery bad
    war. You better hurry up quick an get sorry, plenty more Maori
    boy in Noo Zeelan gettin ready to come an fight.

                                                HENARE TIKITANU.

Henare took great pains to write what he felt was a very convincing
ultimatum--and, after much scratching out and altering, he sealed the
letter and gave it to an airman to drop behind the German lines. The
censor passed it with a merry laugh.

[Illustration]



                                 _VI._

                              A PRISONER.


It was a great relief to Henare's troubled mind to get his letter to the
Kaiser written, and sent off by its famous postman; in his native
simplicity he felt that he had dealt the German Emperor a blow from
which that old Fritz would not quickly recover. He had told him as
plainly as possible what a Maori soldier thought of him, and that of
course would affect the Kaiser's "_morale_."

The incident also got him talked about, until his resourcefulness and
bravery came under the notice of the authorities, with the result that
Henare was made a Corporal; which fact he duly mentioned in a postscript
to some of his letters--with pardonable pride.

He now became more zealous and daring than ever, making quite a business
of the war. He was turning out to be one of the best soldiers in the
British line; an encouragement and inspiration to all about him.

But his zeal and daring often nearly cost him his life, and eventually
cost him his liberty. It happened during a most unexpected gas attack.
Henare lingered too long, was overcome by the poisonous fumes, and was
taken prisoner by the Germans.

He was not badly gassed, so when he recovered enough to walk about he
wanted to fight one of the guards, but a London Tommy restrained him.
Henare appeared to be the first Maori prisoner captured by the Germans,
for they regarded him with a good deal of interest, which he resented
with expressions that were wasted on his captors.

He soon chummed up with his fellow-prisoner--the London Tommy, who urged
him to be less talkative, so as to avoid trouble. But, as Henare could
not indulge in his favourite pastime of "letter writing," he persisted
in talking to Tommy about the war. He told him wonderful stories about
gigantic preparations on the British front, and about the inexhaustible
resources of New Zealand.

Several of the sentries understood English and Henare was listened to
with undisguised interest. Then he was sent for, and taken between two
guards to a German officer, who was very affable to Henare, and asked
him several kindly and interesting questions. Had he quite recovered
from his unfortunate "gassing"? Did he get enough to eat? Was it the
kind of food the Maoris were used to? and so on.

After this the officer told the guards to withdraw twenty paces. He then
smiled at Henare and asked him, in broken English, whether he would like
plenty of money and a certain amount of freedom during his stay in
Germany.

Henare grinned and said that would be "kapai."

"Vell, you shust tell me some leedle tings about der English."

"All right, I know plenty ting about him. What yer want ter know?"

"Ah! dot is goot! Now tell me how much damage der German bombs do on
London."

"Wery bad, wery bad. Him brake down te shop, te church, te school, and
te piccanini."

"Och! anyting else?"

"Yeh; kill te plenty ole woman too; my word yeh, te Zepp wery bad for
ole Englan."

"Haf England got much food?"

"Not too many; only butter from Noo Zeelan."

The officer made a note of that, as a most significant fact. He then
asked:

"How many soldiers vos coming from New Zealand efery mont?"

"Oh, tousan an tousan. Not enuf ship yet to bring him all."

"How many Maoris vos der bein trained?"

"Oh, bout two million, I tink."

"Gott in himmel! Are dey as big as you?"

Henare grinned and said:

"Oh, te Maori bigger 'n me. Me te little bloke, all right. No room for
te big Maori on te ole troopship I came in."

The German looked thoughtful, and a bit suspicious.

"Are you telling me der truth?"

Henare fixed his soft brown eyes on the small blue-grey eyes of his
questioner, and said, with well-feigned indignation:

"Oh, py korry, me te Sunday School poy; what for you tink me tell a
lie?"

"Vell, I will ask you von more question:

"Vat do all dose big Maoris feed on?"

"Oh, te Pakeha no let te Maori eat up te prisoner now, so he eat te
poaka."

"Vat is der poaka?"

"Te pig, te Sher----, I mean te Noo Zeelan pig. But te Maori like te
prisoner more better."

Although the German officer was not at all satisfied with the result of
his enquiries, he made up his mind to treat Henare well, with the object
of getting all the information possible from him.



                                 _VII._

                            EARNING THE V.C.


With their usual lack of humour, the Germans fondly imagined that they
would yet be able to get some valuable information out of the
"unsuspecting" native of New Zealand; for he seemed so agreeable and
talkative! Little did those self-conceited Teutons understand the
Maoris!

This being so, Henare was allowed a certain amount of liberty to ramble
about within a given area--well behind the lines.

Two weeks after his capture a most astounding thing happened--as if it
had been long cut and dried. During a semi-bright moonlight night a
British plane made its appearance over the camp, and was being duly
shelled. Presently it wavered like a wounded bird, then rapidly
descended to a spare piece of ground near where Henare rambled. Hurrying
towards it he found that it was not "wounded," but had alighted for a
minor but necessary adjustment. As Henare approached, the airman drew
his revolver, but the Maori threw up his arms and cried out:

"Hey! Don't shoot! Me te Pritis prisoner."

[Illustration]

"Be the saints," came the reply, "Yez don't look much like a prisoner!
Phat the mischief are yez doing here?"

"Py korry, you better hurry up--all te Sherman looking for you. I tink
you better take me up in te sky, too. I can ride."

With that they both jumped into the plane, fixed the straps, and flew
away. Only just in time, however, for bullets and shells soon began once
more to liven things up. The plane dived, and swooped, and looped the
loop until Henare thought his woolly head would drop off. They then had
a safe run for an hour, but just as the aeroplane was crossing the
German lines she was winged and had to descend in No-Man's-Land. Enemy
searchlights soon discovered where they landed, and shells started to
dance and sing all around them. The two men left the machine just before
it was blown to pieces. They hid for awhile in a crater, until the
welcome sound of a tank was heard. Presently she was seen lumbering
along in the moonlight. Henare and the Irish airman made for her with
all haste, waving their caps. The tank lurched towards them
suspectingly, and then came to a standstill.

[Illustration]

When the back door opened a voice called out:

"Weel naw, an' who might ye be?"

The Irishman answered:

"We're just lookin' for a bhuss to carry us back to the loines."

"This wee cabby is no takin' passengers, but maybe ye can squeeze
in--for its rough walkin' here."

They had not travelled--or lumbered--far when the old tank tumbled
headfirst into a deep shell-hole. With difficulty they all crawled out
and had a good look at the undignified position of H.M.L.S. with her
nose fast in the mud.

Each one of them said a few simple words suitable to the occasion.
Henare's contribution was--"Py cripes! she can buck worse'n te wild
Maori hoss."

There was nothing for it now but to walk. The enemy shelling became so
fierce that the wanderers separated and dodged along--each man for
himself--hiding here and there, and sheltering from time to time in
large craters.

Dead and dying men were lying about in all directions--giving evidence
of recent heavy fighting. When Henare realized this, he forgot his own
danger and set to work carrying wounded men--British and German--to the
shelter of a crater.

[Illustration]

Searchlights were on him nearly all the time, while bullets whistled
past him and shells ploughed up the ground. He still pegged away at his
noble work, until a bullet found him as he was bringing in his twentieth
man--an English Captain. He had just managed to roll into the crater
with his burden and then collapsed. The Red Cross picked them all up the
next afternoon.

Henare was in the hospital when he came to. He was staring wildly at the
man in the next cot--a big, brown man, bandaged, but grinning away
cheerfully.

[Illustration]

Yes! it was Wiremu all right. He had finally enlisted and the military
training had made a man of him. In a desperate battle Wiremu was badly
wounded, and was one of the first men that Henare had carried to the
crater.

When Henare had got over the shock of meeting Wiremu, he asked after
Kiri.

"Oh, she all right Henare, when I left Noo Zealan. She no forget you.
She te brick."

And so, far into the night, the gentle murmur of musical Maori was heard
as these two wounded heroes discussed the war, and old time quarrels,
and Kiri's loyalty to Henare, and also the good times they themselves
would have together in New Zealand, when the war was won.

[Illustration]



                                _VIII._

                              HOME AGAIN!


It was a very happy Maori soldier who was in London a month later,
preparing to go before the King and receive the noble and much-coveted
badge of V.C.

When Henare left the kindly French hospital, Wiremu was getting over his
wound,--more quickly than he wished, for he had completely fallen in
love with Nurse Marie, and was using all the arts and devices known to
the civilized Maori, to win the affections of that charming little angel
of mercy.

As for Henare himself, he was not again passed for active service, but
received orders to return to New Zealand, after he had obtained the
highest badge of honour at the hands of the King.

On the day fixed for the ceremony he was all excitement. He put his
things on wrong, and had to take them off again; lost belongings, and
wanted to fight those that he suspected of taking them.

But the most confusing time was when they were telling him how to behave
at the ceremony and in the presence of His Majesty. He couldn't remember
for five minutes what he had to say and do.

At last he said to the officer instructing him--

"Py korry, mate, I gettin' too shaky. More better you get te Wikitoria
Cross an bring him to me--an I get home quick."

"That would never do, my boy; half the honour is having the medal pinned
on by the King himself."

"My wurra, I tink you right. We better go now; King Hori he get too tire
waitin' for us."

Though still weak, Henare had lost all his nervousness when they arrived
at Buckingham Palace grounds. He watched everything with the keenest
interest, and did not hesitate to quaintly express his opinion about
anything that took his fancy.

[Illustration]

The officers felt a bit anxious when Henare showed signs of
talkativeness as the King was pinning the V.C. on his breast, but they
could see by His Majesty's pleasant smile that no harm was being done.
No one could help smiling when Henare remarked to the King--

"Py cripes, you got te wery fine whare here."

Anyhow, the impressive ceremony passed off without a hitch, and Corporal
Tikitanu, V.C., looked every inch a British soldier and hero--admired of
all.

The very next thing to be considered was "New Zealand" with all speed.

                               * * * * *

At last, after an absence of nearly twelve months, into which were
crammed the experiences and feelings of years, the Maori brave returned
to his native land, bringing with him the fame and the honours he had so
nobly won.

The wildest enthusiasm prevailed at the reception in Henare's native
village. Maori and Pakeha customs and phrases followed one another in
quick succession in the eager desire to express a joyous welcome.

"Haeremai's" were shouted at the returned soldier boy from every quarter
of the crowd; vigorous nose rubbing threatened to become serious, until
it was relieved by the more European ceremony of carrying the hero
shoulder high through the excited crowd. When they reached a
flag-bedecked platform, Maori orators poured forth a flood of poetic
welcome, until the women broke down and wailed their solemn tangi.

As Henare stood up to reply the ground shook with the hakas and feet
stamping. It was a real ovation that the loyal brown-boy received.

For the sake of the distinguished Pakehas present, Henare spoke in
pidgin-English. He had often heard about the great Lord Kitchener, so he
began by saying:

"Te Pritis soldier no talk too much. He te man of the do things, not
t'talk it. T'that why I no got too much for te speech."

He then thanked them all very warmly for the kind and unexpected welcome
they had tendered him, and concluded with this:

"Any bloke here want te nice soft job, no good for him go to te Sherman
war; more better him stop home wid te mudder. But if all you big fat
feller want to be te MAN and te decent bloke, get outer Noo Zeelan quick
and help all your mate lick up te Sherman."

[Illustration]

Kiri, his faithful Maori maiden, was foremost among those who welcomed
him home; and the Rev. Honi Maki celebrated their happy wedding a week
later.

Bearing on his body the honourable scars of war, and on his breast the
King's acknowledgment of his bravery and loyalty, Henare spent his days
going in and out among the Waikatos and neighbouring tribes, telling
them thrilling tales of Britain's might and honour; and showing them the
terrible need there is for Pakeha and Maori alike to do and dare--for
the sake of Britannia, the friend of Justice and Liberty.


[Illustration]


WORTHINGTON & CO., PRINTERS, ALBERT STREET, AUCKLAND--5380



                "LETTERS FROM PRIVATE HENARE TIKITANU."

                           By J. C. FUSSELL.

                     [Illustration: PRESS OPINIONS]


"A very humorous account of the experiences and impressions of a typical
Maori soldier on the long journey from New Zealand to France."

                                                      --N.Z. HERALD.

                               * * * * *

"If you can't raise a smile for Private Henare there is a fissure
somewhere in your diaphragm."... "It is a quaint and appropriate
greeting to send to friends across the seas."

                                            --THE SUN, Christchurch.

                               * * * * *

"The Booklet will have a large and ready sale because of its decided
merit and originality."

                               * * * * *

"They are splendid, and just the thing for sending to the trenches."

                               * * * * *

"The letters of the Maori soldier, as he sees active service."

                  [Illustration: PRICE: ONE SHILLING]



                           Transcriber Notes:

Passages in italics were indicated by _underscores_.

Small caps were replaced with ALL CAPS.

Throughout the dialogues, there were words used to mimic accents of
the speakers. Those words were retained as-is.

The illustrations have been moved so that they do not break up
paragraphs.

Errors in punctuations and inconsistent hyphenation were not corrected
unless otherwise noted.

On page 24, "villian" was replaced with "villain".

On page 25, "her's" was replaced with "hers".

On page 42, "H.M. L.S." was replaced with "H.M.L.S.".





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