THE PRO PATRIA PROJECT
WIKIRIWHI Matarehua
39282, Lieutenant, 28 (Maori) Battalion, New Zealand Infantry

CITATION
Distinguished Service Order
Gazetted 20 July 1943, p3313
In the attack on Takrouna village on the night 19/20 April 1943 Lieutenant Wikiriwhi, intelligence Officer of his unit was personally responsible for the reorganisation of his battalion during an extremely difficult period of the attack.  In the course of the attack his unit suffered heavy casualties including his commanding officer, adjutant and the whole of the officers of the two forward companies.  Undaunted however, Lieutenant Wikiriwhi with a quick grasp of the situation pushed on with the attack and with cool deliberation, courage, determination and with complete disregard for his own personal safety and despite fierce enemy shell, mortar and machinegun fire he set about the further task of reorganising the companies, establishing and consolidating them in fixed positions and establishing Battalion Headquarters.

First light on 20 April 1943 found the Battalion in a difficult situation.  There was no communication with Brigade Headquarters, all company commanders had been wounded and evacuated and the hard fighting during the night had caused considerable disorganisation.  The area had been subjected to heavy mortar and artillery fire.  Lieutenant Wikiriwhi assumed command of the Battalion, completed the reorganisation of the company’s and consolidated the ground won.  Until relieved at 1400 hours he carried out the triple role of Commanding Officer, Adjutant and Intelligence Officer.

Throughout the entire action Lieutenant Wikiriwhi displayed coolness under fire, and the firmness, initiative and judgement of an experienced soldier.  His continual cheerfulness, calm and complete disregard of enemy fire inspired his unit during a very difficult and dangerous period.  Only when satisfied that the situation was stabilised and a senior officer available to take over from him did he relax his efforts.  He then reported personally to Brigade Headquarters.

Military Cross
Gazetted 18 July 1944, p3378

Mention in Despatches
Gazetted 11 January 1944, p273

AWARDS
Distinguished Service Order
Military Cross
1939-45 Star
Africa Star
       8th Army
Italy Star
Defence Medal
War Medal 1939-45
       Mention in Despatches
New Zealand War Service Medal

NOTES
Born 4 April 1918, Rotorua, New Zealand
Died