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Lt. Col Aubrey Balzer (28th Maori Battalion) remembers Italy 1944.
Please note: This article was originally part of Tauranga City Library's 'Tauranga Memories' website (2011-2020). To your right the 'Archived Kete Link', if present, will take you to a snapshot of the original record. Tauranga Memories was made of several focus areas, called 'baskets'. This article was part of the Remembering War basket. It was first licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License at http://tauranga.kete.net.nz/remembering_war/topics/show/120. Initially created 17/08/2011, it underwent 4 edit, the last edit being 21/02/2017. Editors included: Tauranga City Libraries staff (Harley Couper). The original article may have included links, images etc that are not present here.BiographyAubrey Balzer (Details from the 28th Maori Battalion website )
Serial No: 275754
Rank: Sergeant Address on enlistment: Whakarewarewa, Rotorua, New Zealand
New Zealand's 28th (Māori) Battalion fought in the Second World War, between 1941 and 1945. The Māori Battalion forged an outstanding reputation on the battlefields of Greece, Crete, North Africa and Italy.
All content produced with permission by Lt. Col Balzer, 2011
Lt. Col Aubrey Balzer spoke at the BOP Officers Annual Luncheon, Tauranga, July 2011. His recent trip back to Italy in 2011, "was made in totally different conditions to the one made in 1944... at the completion to the North African one...the division went back to Cairo... next thing we knew we were group marching to Alexandria. The battalion split into three parts...they broke the companies up into platoons. The Maori battalion were tribal. “A” company was Nga Puhi, or North Auckland. “B” company were Te Arowa or penny divers as we were known (the gum diggers were “A” company). “C” company were cowboys from down the East Coast and “D” company were known as Ngati Walkabout because they came from Auckland right down the West Coast and the South Island... ...we were shipped over in three very old boats from Alexandria and at the last minute told we were going to Italy..."
Aubrey passed away on Sunday the 10th of March, 2013.
His funeral notice read "BALZER, Aubrey Huia. 275954 - HON COL (LT COL), RNZIR. 28 (NZ) MAORI BATTALION 2NZEF. 6 HAU REGT. On Sunday 10th March 2013 at his beach house in Maketū. Aged 92 years young. Cherished husband of the late Maureen. Loved and Respected father and father in law of Wayne and Virginia, Colleen and Neil, and Annette and Mark. Grandad Aubrey of 7 grandchildren. Special friend of Audree Hopcraft and family. A service for Aubrey will be held on Friday 15th, in the Living Well Church, 47 Biak Street, Rotorua at 1:00pm. In lieu of flowers donations to the Order Of St John, PO Box 1205, Rotorua would be appreciated. These may also be left at the service. All communications to the Balzer Family C/- PO Box 926, Rotorua"
B Company veterans in 2007. Standing: George Rehu, Robert Gillies, Te Puhi Pātara, Aubrey Balzer, Sonny Sewell. Sitting: Paora Kruger, Haare Nuku Te Rātana, Arthur Midwood. B Company veterans in 2007. Standing: George RehuRobert GilliesTe Puhi PātaraAu