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Full Name: Te Rangiataahua Kiniwe Royal
Rank Last Held:
  • Lieutenant
  • Major
Forename(s): Te Rangiataahua Kiniwe
Surname: Royal
Also Known As:
  • Rangi
  • Roera
War:
  • World War I, 1914-1918
  • World War II, 1939-1945
Serial No.:
  • 19654
  • 5096
Iwi:
  • Ngati Raukawa
  • Ngati Tamatera
Gender: Male
Date of Birth: 23 August 1897
Place of Birth: Levin, Horowhenua, New Zealand
First Known Rank:
  • Company Sergeant Major
  • Captain
Occupation before Enlistment:
  • Clerk
  • Civil Servant
Next of Kin:
  • Mrs Keriati Kiniwe Royal (mother), Paeroa, New Zealand
  • Mrs P. Royal (wife), 38 Grey Street, Rotorua, New Zealand
Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Married
Enlistment Address:
  • Unknown address
  • 38 Grey Street, Rotorua, New Zealand
Military District:
  • Unknown
  • Rotorua
Body on Embarkation:
  • New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF)
  • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force (2NZEF), 2nd Echelon
Embarkation Unit:
  • 25th Reinforcements, Maori Contingent
  • 28 (Maori) Battalion
Embarkation Date:
  • 31 December 1917
  • 2 May 1940
Place of Embarkation:
  • Wellington, New Zealand
  • Wellington, New Zealand
Transport:
Vessel:
  • Athenic
  • Aquitania
Destination:
  • Glasgow, Scotland
  • Gourock, Scotland (16 June 1940)
Nominal Roll Number:
  • 76
  • WW2 2
Page on Nominal Roll:
  • 23
  • WW2 161
Military Awards: Military Cross (MC) and Bar
Award Circumstances:
  • MC. Leading a bold charge against German paratroopers at Suda Bay, Crete.
  • Bar, MC. Libyan campaign
Wounds and Diseases: Wounded 14 December 1941
Last Unit Served:
  • New Zealand Pioneer Battalion
  • 28 (Maori) Battalion
Place of Death: Rotorua, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
Date of Death: 8 July 1965
Age at Death: 68
Year of Death: 1965
Cemetery Name: Ohinemutu Cemetery, Rotorua, New Zealand
Obituary: Obituary: Te Ao Hou 1965. no. 52 (September) pp. 63-63.
Biographical Notes:
  • Husband of Te Puhi o Rakaiora Taiaroa
  • Volunteered for service in WW1
  • Major in command of B Company, 28 Maori Battalion WW2
  • Rangi Royal was amongst those who trained at Palmerston North and at noon on 1 May 1941 went by train to Wellington to board the Aquitania for Britain. The people of Palmerston North, relatives and friends of the men saw them off and when they reached Wellington the train passed on to Aotea Quay which was closed to the crowd that had gathered. They boarded this ship and soon after daybreak on 2 May the Aquitania, "with nearly three thousand troops plus a detachment of the RNVR on board, moved out into the stream. The Maori Battalion's last close contact with its own people was the sight of the crowd allowed on the wharf and the sound of the Ngati Poneke girls singing farewell songs as the distance widened between ship and shore. The Battalion sang its farewell song 'Po Atarau' in reply."
  • The ship travelled in convoy with the Empress of Britain and the Empress of Japan. It reached Fremantle on 10 May where the troops had a short shore leave before continuing to Colombo. However in the event it made for Cape Town where again shore leave was granted. Once they reached the Irish sea they were escorted by HMS Hood, an aircraft carrier and six destroyers and reached Glasgow on 16 June.
  • Captain Royal was wounded in the advance to Gazala which took place 11-16 December 1941.
  • The circumstances leading up to this are outlined in The Story of the Maori Battalion by Wira Gardiner. "On 10 December 1941, the Maori [Battalion] were on the move westwards past Menastir, the scene of their recent triumph, and on toward Gazala. 5 Brigade was to move west towards Gazala but not get involved in serious fighting. Seventeen miles west of Tobruk, the battalions were given their tasks. 23 Battalion was to move down the main coastal road. The Maori were to move along a track on the escarpment overlooking the coast road. 22 Battalion moved further south.
  • The 28 (Maori) Battalion's first objective was Sidi Mgherreb, 'a slight rise dominated by a little hill hardly more than a pimple on the desert'. It was a very strong position, protected by a minefield on its left flank and by a line of 26 anti-tank guns, interlaced with machine guns and mortars on its right." Using simple if unorthodox tactics the battalion was successful and took over 1000 prisoners.
  • Two days later and 12 km further west the 28 Battalion was in action again, this time the objective was Point 181. The assault (as recorded by Cody in 28 (Maori) Battalion) was a replica of the first. "Colonel Dyer placed Captain Royal in charge with orders to consolidate while he returned to his headquarters back on the first objective. Royal in turn instructed A Company and 17 Platoon to consolidate while he went forward with B. Company to exploit in case there were more enemy about. They found a field ambulance, medical stores, a food truck, a car and several motor cycles.
  • The Arawas had taken time off to sample the Italian hot coffee in the food truck when the approach of daylight disclosed still more enemy in trenches close by. They did not offer much opposition and the Maoris took over their weapon pits. B. Company's adventures were not yet over for at first light another enemy group was seen about 400 yards away, apparently standing around waiting to surrender. The Maoris were proceeding to oblige them when the enemy suddenly turned and manned some guns behind them, whereupon B. Company's men dived for the cover they had just left.
  • By the greatest of good fortune a Vickers crew had arrived by this time and came immediately into action cleaning up the enemy gun crews, breaking up an incipient counter-attack, and ensuring that the guns remained unmanned. Captain Royal and Lieutenant D. Stewart were wounded by the same mortar shell and Lieutenant F.T. Bennett took command."
Postwar Occupation:
  • Civil servant
  • Controller Maori Welfare
Description of Image: Headstone, Ohinemutu Cemetery (photo G.A. Fortune 1999)
Additional Information:
  • Listed as Rangiataahua Royal on the Nominal Roll and by DNZB as Te Rangiataahua Kiniwe Royal
  • Main Body, 28 (Maori) Battalion
Further References:
Sources Used:
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