Born for War

New Zealand's Military History - A Family Perspective


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4/02/2018 - Plans for re-enactments to be filmed between April 2018-July 2019.

For more information, please go to:

19/07/2014 - The author thanks the Sydney Heritage Fleet for their support in permitting a brief re-enactment to be filmed aboard the James Craig tall ship... 


17/07/2014 - The author thanks Te Runanga-A-Iwi-O-Ngapuhi for their support and is acknowledged on their website...



05/02/2014 - Research trip to the U.K., France and Italy in January 2014 - Completed...

The author has completed his research trip to England, France and Italy, from January 17th-February 2nd, 2014. He carried out a variety of research methods whilst in-country; including: academic - archives, museums and libraries; on-site - visiting and walking the ground at a number of battle sites and other significant places; personal - interviewing colleagues/descendants/academics; paying respects - numerous cemeteries and urupa. He began in London; traveled to Maidstone; then Cambridge University; Camp 49B in Ewshott, Sling Camp in Bulford, Alveston, Newport and Cardiff in Wales, Paris in France, then Cassino, Sangro River, Rimini, Cesena, Forli, Faenza, Bologna and Rome. He shot footage to be used within his research as well as within the accompanying documentaries.


25/01/2013 - Research trip to New Zealand in January - Completed...

The author has undertaken his fifth NZ-based research trip, which ran from January 5th-25th, 2013. He carried out a variety of research methods whilst in-country; including: academic - archives, museums and libraries; on-site - visiting and walking the ground at a number of battle sites and other significant places; personal - interviewing colleagues/descendants/academics; paying respects - numerous cemeteries and urupa. He began in Wellington; travelled to Wakefield near Nelson; then Trentham Army Camp; National Army Museum in Waiouru, Rotorua, Ruatoki, Wainui, Opotiki, Omaio, Te Kaha, Whakatane, Tauranga, Kopu near Thames, Auckland Memorial Museum, Kaiwaka, Kawakawa, Russell, Rawhiti, Waitangi, Kerikeri, Waimate North, Ohaeawai, Moremonui near Bayley's Beach, Bell Block near Waitara, New Plymouth, Hawera, Nukumaru, Otautu, Nukumaru, Palmerston North and back to Wellington. He also shot footage to be used within his research as well as within the accompanying documentary.  


17/10/2012 - Research trip to Fiji in October - Completed

The author has completed his research trip to the Pacific Islands of Fiji. This is in relation to the Pacific Theatre during WW2 (1939-45). A number of New Zealand military personnel were stationed here until the attack on Pearl Harbor; resulting in the American participation in the war. The author visited the area of Samabula, Suva, where the NZ Headquarters was located; the Narain Wharves, where the supply ships docked to unload the military equipment and stores; Namaka, Nadi, on the West Coast, where the air field was situated - another base was set up here. The author was fortunate enough to meet  Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama CF, MSD, OStJ who is not only the Prime Minister, but the Fijian Chief of Military Forces; he also met the Fijian Chief of Staff Brigadier-General Aziz Mohammed whilst at the Government Building, Suva, to discuss Fiji's role in the Pacific Theatre. The author also assisted with the Dolores Cross project once again; laying crosses at 32 Kiwi servicemens' graves in the Suva Military Cemetery and the Old Suva Cemetery 



23/07/2012 - Research trip to the USA and Canada in July - Completed 

The author visited the United States of America, to visit the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. Due to travel issues, he was unable to travel to Soup Harbour, Lake Ontario, Canada (where Sergeant Blyth Kempton-Werohia died when the Fairey-Bomber he was piloting, crashed into the lake on August 14, 1942, during WWII), and also unable to visit him at the Ottawa (Beechwood) Cemetery, Ontario (where he rests peacefully). The author was privileged enough to tour the Pentagon and also visit the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia on July 16.


25/09/2011 - Research trip to Iraq - Completed!...

The author has recently returned from Iraq, where he conducted research into the conflict in the Middle East. He was based in the city of Sulaimaniah, where Saddam Hussein's Baath Party and military forces committed atrocities against the Kurdish people in Northern Iraq. Of note, is the chemical bombing of places such as Halabja; where an untold number of casualties lost their lives or were horribly scarred - both physically and mentally. *Photographs can be viewed in the Iraq Research album.


15/08/2011 - Author interviewed by University of Western Sydney (UWS)!

The author was interviewed by the UWS, and provided a brief response to their questions.


02/05/2011 - IndieGoGo 'Born for War' Campaign - time's run out!...

You can still help - even though the campaign (link below) has officially ended, I am still looking for funding. Please consider contributing towards my research project, you can contact me by using the details provided on the 'Contact Us' link found in the list to the left . 

View the link    


28/04/2011 - The author's documentary 'My Moko' airing on KIWI tv ...

The author's short documentary, titled 'My Moko' is currently airing on KIWI tv.


01/03/2011 - Author supports the 'Dolores Cross' Project...

The author assisted the Dolores Cross Project, during his research trip to Belgium in early June 2011. He did this by placing some crosses by a number of graves belonging to New Zealand soldiers; in military cemeteries, in and around the town of Ieper (Ypres), Belgium in early June 2011. You can find out more about the Dolores Cross Project, on the link below.



21/12/2010 - Research Trip to Belgium - June 2011 - Completed! 

The author traveled to Belgium and Germany in early June 2011, to undertake research on World War One. The author visited a number of former battlefields, in and around Ypres (Ieper), Messines (Mesen) and Passendale. He also visited the 'In Flanders Fields' Museum, the War Ramparts Museum, Hill 60 in Zillebeke (one of the sites where tunnels were dug underneath German lines and huge explosive charges were detonated on June 7, 1917; also the site where the movie 'Beneath Hill 60 was filmed), Bayerwald Trenches (where Adolph Hitler served as a young Lance Corporal), World War One Museum in Zonnebeke, Menin Gate, New Zealand Memorial in Messines, Tyne Cot Cemetery (largest WW1 Commonwealth War cemetery in Europe) and Kandahar Farm Cemetery (where the author payed his respects to family member, Hemi HILL).

This research trip is in relation to Chapter 7 - Of Hills and Ridges, and includes the following characters: Hemi Hill, Himiona Bruce Hill, Waru Werohia, Whetu Werohia and Mita Hohua.


3/11/2010 - Author recognised for his achievements in New South Wales Parliamentary Speech...

The author has been mentioned in Minister of Parliament, Dr Andrew McDonald's Parliamentarian speech; which was released to the media today. He was praised directly for his role as an award winner at the Pacific Achievements Awards Night; as well as through the recognition of two local sporting teams, for which he coaches and plays - Casula Cougars U/13s and Liverpool Bulls R.U.F.C.


2/11/2010 - Research Trip to Vietnam - October 2010 - Completed!

The author has just completed a research trip to Vietnam and Cambodia; where he visited a number of sites in and around Ho Chi Minh City,Vietnam, as well as within the Cambodian city of Siem Reap.

Vietnam - He visited a number of former FSPB's in Bien Hoa Province, as well as the Dong Nai Museum and the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City itself. He also visited a number of sites in Ba Ria Province (formerly known as Phuoc Tuy); including Nui Dat, Long Tan Memorial, Long Phuoc Tunnels, the Horseshoe, and the Long Hai Hills.

Cambodia -  He sighted the bas-reliefs at the temples of Angkor Wat, Bayon, and Ta Prom; as well as visiting the Landmine Museum around 30kms north-west of Siem Reap. 

The Landmine Museum was founded in 1997 by Aki Ra, a former child-soldier with the Khmer Rouge. He has been demining (detecting and exploding landmines and other ordnance) within Cambodia since 1995, and has assisted the UN in their aims of ridding the country of mines. He now works as part of the Cambodian Self Help Demining organisation, who not only not only clear landmines, but also run an orphanage and school for young landmine victims, and other disadvantaged children. 

*The author would like to show his appreciation to former Military Policeman and teacher, Bill Morse (International Project Manager - Cambodian Self Help Demining) and his wife (also a teacher); for their hospitality and the opportunity to visit not only the museum, but the orphanage and school as well. The author is planning to support the school by providing funds or required resources. There is also an opportunity to assist the facility by volunteering to teach in the school - an opportunity that the author is seriously considering.

Wonderful work - done by wonderful people!




13/10/2010 - Kerehona awarded a bursary by Ex-Vietnam Services Association (Neville Wallace Memorial) Children's and Grandchildren's Trust - October 2010

The author has been awarded the 161 Bty Bursary, which will assist him with his research trip to Vietnam in late October-early November 2010. He appreciates the support and assistance provided by the Neville Wallace Memorial Children's and Grandchildren's Trust, and will in turn, support the Trust when he is in a position to do so. The author is humbled to receive the 161 Bty Bursary, as his father served in Vietnam with this unit from 1967-68.



17/09/2010 - Kerehona presented with award - September 2010

The author has been presented with the award for 'Highly Commended - Outstanding Achievement for Mature Age Student' at the 2010 SWSRAC Pacific Achievement Awards Night, held at The Cube Entertainment Centre, Thursday 16 September.These awards are supported by the NSW Council for Pacific Communities: South West Sydney Regional Advisory Council. The author was both honoured and humbled when receiving this award, and is proud to have been mentioned (or even considered) along with the other nominees; who have achieved wonderful things in the SWS area during the past year. Congratulations go out to Louise Barber, who was awarded the 'Winner - Outstanding Achievement for Mature Age Student' for her achievement, as well as her contribution to the Pacific community. Photos can be viewed in the 'Awards & Honours' album.


08/08/2010 - Tribal Films is born...  

The author and his brother Kris Kerehona, have created a film company titled 'Tribal Films'. They will specialise in Maori, Polynesian, and indigenous documentaries, films, and novels. All projects, film and funding submissions; will come under this title - from this time forward. The first documentary based upon Born for War is In the Field - Re-tracing a Soldier.


27/07/2010 - New Zealand Research Trip No 5 - Feb 2011 - Postponed
The author was travelling to Waitangi, to participate in a waka wananga or traditional Maori 'canoe training' over a week-long period. This course is run by Hone Mihaka of Taiamai Tours. This experience will contribute to the author's understanding of the skills and physical exertion necessary, to manouvre a Maori war canoe. He was also going to be in Russell (Kororareka) and Waitangi during the period of Waitangi 2011 celebrations; he will experience the numerous events associated with this significant day - especially the opportunity to paddle a waka on Waitangi Day, as part of the official celebrations. *The author will now undertake this trip in February 2012.



20/01/2010 - New Zealand Research Trip No 4 - Jan 2010 - Completed

The author has recently completed his fourth research trip to New Zealand; where he conducted research over the period of 10/01/2010-19/01/2010. The author visited Waikato, Taranaki, Palmerston North, Wellington, Rotorua, Bay of Plenty, Tauranga, and Auckland.This research trip is in relation to Chapters; 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8.


29/12/2009 - Kerehona's Story Published in the Northern Advocate

The Northern Advocate has published an article on the author and his 'Born for War' project, in their December 26, 2009 Edition (p.23). See Lindy Laird's article titled 'Maori heritage leads to Aussie's self-discovery' on 'Media' page.


14/10/2009 - KiwiTV Shows Interest in 'Born for War'

Brent Reihana, Director of KiwiTV, has shown an interest in this project. Reihana writes: "I will look forward to reading the finished product. Your credentials are impressive and there is certainly some expectation building in wait for this story." The author is extremely appreciative of Reihana's comments and will definately work with KiwiTV in the near future.


10/09/2009 - Horrors of Hiroshima!

The author recently visited the city of Hiroshima where he conducted research into the dropping of the first atomic bomb in history. This terrible act of aggression, which the Allied nations directed upon the people of Japan; saw mass casualties, the likes of which had never been seen before (and hopefully will never be seen again). The author and his two youngest sons, spent time in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and surrounding areas, collecting information and speaking with survivors and members of their families. Kerehona says that 'This was an eye-opening and emotional experience, and something that I hope my sons will remember forever - I know I will!' This research is in relation to Chapter 8 - Part A - Biddles in Battle, and Part B - Werohia's at War.


02/04/2009 - Moka lives again through art! 

Kiwi artist, Penny Howard (Ngapuhi), has created a number of artworks based upon Ngapuhi chief, Moka Te Kainga-mataa. Penny's beautiful and inspired artworks have already won acclaim; with her work Moka's Utu II a finalist for the Walker and Hall National 2 dimensional Art award in NZ in 2008. Her work Moka's Utu will be displayed in Whangarei and Auckland at the end of the year, and in Auckland in 2010. The author gratiously accepts Penny and Doug Poole's (poet), public acknowledgements in relation to the author's support and research. Her poem Whero was published this year in Sidestream, a small free poetry magazine. Penny has also gratiously chosen to support the 'Three Brother Chiefs; Te Wharerahi, Rewa, Moka exhibition (see entry below), by gifting one of her artworks to the tangata whenua of Rawhiti (including the uri of Moka). The artwork being displayed at the Russell Museum during late 2010- early 2011, before being housed permanently in the Rawhiti Marae.

01/04/2009 - Three Brother Chiefs

The Russell Museum, in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, is presenting an exhibition titled 'Three Brother Chiefs; Te Wharerahi, Rewa, Moka' from February-May 2012. This exhibition will be focussing upon Moka Te Kainga-mataa, and his two brothers' roles in the Bay of Islands in the 1830s-40s. Brent Kerehona has been working with museum Curator, Marsha Davis, on aspects of this exhibition over the past 24 months. Brent and his brother, Kris, will be creating an audio-visual element; to complement the wonderful display that Marsha and her staff have been putting together.



09/01/2009 - Born for War headed for Maori TV?

Recently, Maori TV representative, Damian Peters, contacted Brent Kerehona and expressed an interest in airing the documentary on Maori TV's 2009 Anzac Day broadcast if it was completed. Damian also enquired as to whether the book had been completed or the approximate date of completion. *Heeni Scott, Production Manager Maori Television (20l0) showed continued interest in the project in mid-2010.  It is expected that the draft manuscript  will be completed by July 2011- in time for a 2012 ANZAC Week book release. Also, a collection of brief 'vignettes' will be filmed and produced for Maori TV's 2012 Anzac Day broadcast.


18/11/2008 - Mixed Emotions as Author's Grandmother passes away

The author's grandmother, Dixie Te Ani Pohepohe Pukepuke-Ahitapu (nee Biddle); one of the characters in Chapter 8, passes away peacefully in Mangere, Auckland. Brent and his father, Taawhi, brother, Kris, and sister, Erina; travelled to New Zealand to attend her tangi (funeral). She was farewelled at the Rawhiti Marae and lies peacefully at the Omakiwi Urupa (Cemetery). Brent says that 'although it was a sad occassion farewelling my Nan, it was also a happy time - I had the opportunity to meet many relatives that I had either not met previously, or had not seen for for than 30 years.' 


10/10/2008 - New Zealand Research Trip No 3 - Oct 2008 - Completed

Brent has just completed a successful research trip around the North Island. He visited significant sites in the Bay of Islands, Taiamai, Hokianga, Kaiwaka, Auckland, Tauranga, Opotiki, Waiouru, Wanganui, Patea, Nukumaru, Hawera, Taranaki, Oakura, and Waikato. Brent said that this trip was 'an intensive and emotional experience, whilst I was visiting a number of these sites, I could feel the wairua of the tipuna, and was influenced to revisit the research that I had previously done.' Brent is planning another trip to the Taranaki area in 2010, to undertake additional research.


12/08/2008 - Born for War documentary creates further interest 

Recently, New Zealand-based production company Faultline Films, expressed an interest in a possible documentary; regarding Brent Kerehona's journey to find his cultural ancestry. More details will be made available if/when they occur.


 04/07/2008 - Moka's Mana Maintained!

In addition to altering their webpage Waitangi Treaty copy, to acknowledge Kerehona's theory, that Moka Te Kainga-mataa refused to sign the Tiriti o Waitangi; The New Zealand Ministry for Heritage and Culture has added Brent Kerehona's biography about the Ngapuhi chief, Moka Te Kainga-mataa, to their Treaty Biography section. These electronic articles can be viewed at the links below.



 14/03/2008 - Kerehona's Research Validated

Over the past few months, Brent has received responses from a number of New Zealand's foremost academics and historians; in relation to his theory that Moka Te Kainga-mataa did not sign the Tiriti o Waitangi. These responses have been both positive and supportive, and these can be viewed on the 'Endorsements' page on this website.


20/01/2008 - New Zealand Research Trip No 2 - Jan 2008 - Completed

Research a success, despite loss of film footage!

Brent and Kris Kerehona have completed a successful fact-finding tour of New Zealand's North Island, despite the trip ending with the theft of the majority of their film footage. The two brothers were able to meet a number of contacts and gain valuable insight and information in relation to a number of sites and events within early New Zealand/Colonial history. Click on the link for more details of the theft of the brothers' film footage.



30/09/2007 - Born for War to become a Documentary

On consultation with Kris Kerehona, as well as a number of other film/television producers; Brent Kerehona has decided that the book shall be extended to become a documentary. A research trip is now planned for December 2007-January 2008, where the two brothers will visit a number of areas around New Zealand's North Island; making contacts and filming numerous significant sites. More details to follow.


17/08/2007 - New Zealand Research Trip No 1 - Aug 2007 - Completed

Brent and his father, Taawhi, visit the University of Auckland Research Centre, and the University of Auckland Library; to conduct research about their tipuna (ancestor) Nga Puhi chief, Moka Te Kainga-mataa's role in the Treaty of Waitangi process. They also visit the Auckland War Museum and travel to Waikato; where they view the area around the former site of the Matakitaki Pa (a violent battle during the Musket Wars), as well as visiting the site of one of the most sanginous battles of the Maori Wars, Rangiriri.