Tania Butcher builds on memories of Maketu

Tania Butcher

Tania uses her studies in tactical warfare to explore the history of Maketu warriors

Being selected to write from a large field of writers is a humbling experience and an honour. My manuscript is a journal reaching back in time to gather forward the triumphs and tribulations of Maketu warriors who fought in wars with honour and a belief that a better world can be made for their families and generations of descendants ahead in time.

The beginnings of writing the Maketu warriors’ story cropped up five years ago in a conversation with my cousin Huia Tapsell who wanted something concrete to remember all those men who lived in Maketu during the warring years.    

At the time I was studying Defence and Strategic Studies at Massey University, my head was filled with battles and principles of warfare. I was very enthusiastic and promised my cousin I would return to Maketu when I completed my studies and discuss the prospect of writing a book about our warriors both Māori and Pakeha.    

Here I am my dream a reality and a whole lot of work ahead of me. I am elated, exhilarated and energised to be working on an important project about my ancestors and their comrades-in-arms. I am very honoured.    

Background on Maketu Soldiers   

Maketu is a historical township which nestles in the elbow of the Bay of Plenty coastline between Tauranga and the East Cape. The Maketu landscape is an archival trove of past fighting chiefs and militarily enlisted warriors immortalised in headstones, memorials and war sites. – From working manuscript   

Tania’s manuscript about Maketu soldiers focuses on their involvement in the wars of the twentieth century.

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