In the early 1900’s Kiro Luke ADAM sailed from Rarotonga, Cook Islands to work as a gardener in Parnell, Auckland. He was the youngest of two brothers and two sisters.
He joined the 2nd Māori Contingent. They departed New Zealand for Suez on 19 September 1915 on board of the ship Waitemata. In his military record, it appears that Kiro was attached to the 2nd Auckland Infantry Battalion on 19 Jan 1916 in Moascar, Ismailia.
On 20 February when the NZ Pioneer Battalion was authorized he became an NZ Pioneer.
|(c) IWM Q653 on the road to Armentieres|
|(C) IWM Q4735 Maori lumber workers, Forest de Nieppe|
From the 3rd of July on, they came back in Flanders/Belgium in different areas for the next two months.
On the 4th of October, the German shelling was not heavy west of Kansas Cross, and at 11 a.m. B and later A Company Pioneers commenced repairs on the road forward to Kansas Cross. The Pioneers did excellent work on the roads and artillery tracks, but wet weather on the 6th and several days afterward, and the trains of pack mules along the newly formed earth road turned it into a quagmire. For several days it was a steady fight with mud. Guns and horses were bogged everywhere. The Māori Pioneers pulled many guns out and into position but the road was in a fearful condition.
No further attempt could be made to push forward the tram lines owing to the lack of material. Even had this been available the congested state of traffic on the road from Ypres to the Steenbeek brook made it almost impossible to get wagons with material forward.
They were working around the road from Spree Farm to Kansas Cross and ‘s Graventafel and the frontline was about 400 yards over ‘s Graventafel in the direction of Passchendaele between Waterloo Farm and Fleet Cott
|trench map area of the field grave of Kiro Luke ADAM (red point near to Spree Farm on the map)|
click on the map/photos to see more details
|same trench map mixed with today map with street names|
Māori also enlisted (and died) in other units of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force but also in other units of the Commonwealth Forces.
|His Excellency Sir Tom Marsters and Lady Tuaine|
|Wreath laying at the Menin Gate with H.E. Gregory Andrews, Ambassador for New Zealand to Belgium.|
Only one of the 11 Cook Islanders who died during the Great War is buried in Belgium.
Sir Tom and Lady Tuaine did a battlefield tour in Northern France and Flanders/Belgium and they have been at the Menin Gate for the daily Last Post Ceremony to lay a wreath on behalf of the People of Cook Islands.
(c) Freddy Declerck MNZM OAM