NGAPONA Newsletter


15 March 19 – Ngapona Assn Lunch at Waiheke RSA
23 March 19 – Kumeu Militaria Show
6 April 19 – HMNZS Otago Reunion, Birkenhead RSA
18 April 19 – Ngapona Assn Lunch at Henderson RSA (Thursday)
19 – 22 April 19 – Easter Weekend
25 April 19 – ANZAC Day
10 May – Navy Club Lunch, Remuera Club
17 May – Ngapona Assn Lunch at Pt Chevalier RSA
1-3 June – Queen’s Birthday Weekend
1-3 June – RNZN Antarctic Veterans Reunion, Rangiora RSA


Our annual lunch at Waiheke RSA is this Friday 15 March. This is one of the Association’s major events for the year. It is always a good day out and the RSA makes us very welcome. Invite your partner and friends – you do not have to be a member of the Association to enjoy good company, food and a trip on the harbour. The ferry leaves the downtown ferry building on the half hour. Suggest we catch the 1100 boat as this also calls at Devonport on the way so ‘Northern Folk’ don’t need to come into town. It’s good to get to the ferry building early and have a coffee before boarding the ferry. The return sailings are on the half hour with the 1400 and 1600 sailings calling at Devonport.


The Rock Reunion page now has its own website which can be found at All details are now on this site. The “Survivors of the Rock” reunion will be held on 14-16th February 2020. Visit the website for further details.


The Maori sailor has been a part of the RNZN from day one of its inception. There was never any discrimination and both Pakeha and Maori sailors have lived and fought together in harmony. In those early years, the top navy hierarchy was predominately ex Royal Navy (RN) senior naval officers who promoted the RN traditions, customs and principles.

Although Maori customs and practices were never forbidden in the RNZN, the Maori matelots formed their own ships Maori Concert Party (MCP) in order to honour and promote their culture whenever their ships deployed overseas. Practicing when at sea and performing in harbour for cocktail parties, schools, civilian clubs, hospitals, TV and any locations that they were invited to. They were real amateurs but performed with enthusiasm, pride and pure joy for their tipuna (ancestors) their ship and themselves.

They didn’t have the support of their wahine (women) to assist with harmonising or poi (ball on a rope) on ships in those early days. Most ships could ‘outfit’ their MCP’s with the traditional Maori puipui (flax skirt) and many of the sailors would have their own taiaha (close-1/4’s weapon) or patu (striking club) Their ta-moko (face tattoo) were simply drawn on by utilising whatever marking pens were available at the time.

Some said that they were nothing but performing ‘puppets’ for the wardroom at cocktail parties who were rewarded with cartons of beer, but that statement could not be further from the truth. The main focus of a cocktail party was to promote our country and an integral part of that was to showcase our culture. The MCP were genuine ambassador’s and always received accolades and compliments for their performances around the world.

The names of tutors such as, “Pop’ Pokai, Bert McLean, Bruce Pukepuke, “Choc” Kingi, ‘Tweeny’ Dennis, Dennis Newdick, Chris Kauta and Percy Poe are names that will forever be etched in Maori naval history as matelots who pioneered and forged the promotion of their Maori culture. If ever the history of the matelot in the RNZN is written, stories of the Maori Concert Parties should be told.

(Supplied by Jack Donnelly)

MCP Royalist 1965 – MAORI HAKA PARTY – As they preferred to be known.


On 14th March 1991, Elizabeth House, 5 King Edward Parade, Devonport was sold by the RNZN for $800,000. In July 1951, the Ventor Hotel was purchased by the RNZN to be the barracks for the WRNZNS. A year was taken up with refurbishment and the first group of 71 Wrens arrived in July 1952. This was christened as Elizabeth House. The original kauri house was destroyed by fire, rumoured to be started by a defaulting guest. The plastered brick replacement was built in 1914. The building sold again in 2009 for $1,450,000 and again in 2016 for $3,000,000.


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3 Responses to NGAPONA Newsletter

  1. Brian Edwards says:

    Re Maori concert party. Was it coincidence that Concert party rehearsals were always held prior to start of movie. TARANAKI Far East 1970. Never did get a front row seat!

    • Brian henman says:

      and in the end brian it all came to a head, big time….

      • Brian Edwards says:

        Hi Brian. Yes! Glad to know Im not the only one who remembers. Best to let sleeping dogs lie or to the older populus “It is nought good a slepyng hound to wake.”

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