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Never-received medals of members of Māori Battalion who served in World War II presented to families

Medals, never received by dozens of soldiers in the Māori Batallion have today been presented to their families 76 years since the end of World War II.

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More than 60 descendants of the members of the ‘C Company’ were presented the medals in Gisborne. Source: 1 NEWS

More than 60 descendants of members of the "C Company" were in Gisborne today to collect the medals.

More than 60 families representing their loved ones honoured comrades who never received medals were in Gisborne for the special service.

"For me it's hard to explain - one minute on top of the world. and then I go down to reality and say 'what the heck?’ says medal recipient, Whareherehere Tikitiki.

The ceremony is the result of two years research by one man. David Stone's great uncle fought with the battalion and never got a medal, curious to know if there were others, he got digging.

"We went through every single village on the east coast, through every single village of c company, and when we finished we found 134 soldiers,” Stone told 1 NEWS.

More than 3600 men served in the Māori battalion. After the war, soldiers could apply for their medals, which were sent in the post.

"And our koroua said "no, no" there's no mana in receiving a medal in the mail, you present it face to face or you don't do it at all,” Stone says.

Stone's great uncle died in the war his medals were sent to the wrong address.

“So the irony is our family has actually never received his medals and we won't but we've been able to do it for a whole lot of other families and that's cool,” Stone says.

Now, 76 years on, many more whanau now have those medals.