Our latest project, the digital graphic novel Ngarimu Te Tohu Toa / Victory at Point 209 was launched by New Zealand’s Education Minister Hekia Parata in the Great Hall, Parliament Buildings on Thursday.
The launch was part of the ceremony announcing the five outstanding winners of the Ngārimu VC and 28th (Māori) Battalion Memorial Scholarship and distinguished guests included Ministers, Members of Parliament, Willie Apiata, VC, and Robert Gillies, B Company veteran.
“Māori achievement is on the rise, but some of our rangatahi struggle with reading, and prefer audio learning. An audio book like this works well for them.“ Minister Parata
During the event Steven Renata, Kiwa’s CEO demonstrated the app, pictured here. Probably the most prestigious surroundings we have worked in – but fitting for a product designed to make a difference in the lives of rangatahi Māori.
Ngarimu Te Tohu Toa / Victory at Point 209 is an interactive digital book in comic format, with audio and text in Te Reo Māori (Ngāti Porou dialect) and English. It is available from the App Store for no charge, and can be accessed on iPADs and iPhones.
Designed for reluctant readers and boys from the age of 10 years, the digital book takes the reader through the story of how Second Lieutenant Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa Ngarimu of 28 Māori Battalion was awarded the VC during World War Two.
On 26 March 1943, two weeks before his 24th birthday, Ngarimu led an attack on Point 209, a vital hill at Tebaga Gap in Tunisia. Under intense mortar and machine gun-fire, he led the assault up the hill, personally destroying two German machine-gun posts on a crest of the hill. Despite being wounded twice during the night, he and his men defended their position from several counter-attacks. The following morning during a particularly strong counter-attack, Ngarimu was killed.
Besides the Victoria Cross awarded to Ngarimu, in this single action his men a received an unprecedented number of other awards for gallantry. Sadly the unit suffered almost 100 casualties, including 22 dead.
Later the same day, the Germans still on Point 209 surrendered.
This project was developed in a unique collaboration between Government, iwi and private sector agencies, and supported by Manatū Taonga – Ministry for Culture and Heritage.