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Māori Pioneer Battalion descendants march through Gisborne to honour veterans

In honour of the Māori Pioneer Battalion servicemen, their homecoming was re-created as descendants marched through Gisborne to launch a new book.

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A new book recognises the service of 2500 young men who fought in WWI. Source: 1 NEWS

'Māori in the First World War' is a book about the 2500 young Māori men who fought in World War I and gives insight into their sacrifice and service.

The Māori Pioneer Battalion suffered 1000 casualties - 230 were killed and more than 700 soldiers were wounded. Some were sent home but others were left with post-traumatic stress disorder.

"It's quite spooky to see the youth of today in those uniforms because you realise that's how young the men were when they went away," author of the book Monty Soutar told 1 NEWS.

Victoria Cross recipient Willie Apiata was in attendance, lending his mana to the event, as was Sir Peter Jackson whose Weta Workshop supplied the uniforms.

"To actually be in the street and see them march past in uniform brings it to life in a way that will be quite emotional," he says.

The event celebrated the 1919 event of welcoming the men home and was known as Hui Aroha where 16,000 Māori attended, the largest gathering of Māori in town.