Information about birth

Date of birth:
20/08/1896
Place of birth:
Gisborne, Tikitiki, New Zealand

General information

Profession:
Labourer

Army information

Country:
New Zealand
Force:
New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Rank:
Lance Corporal
Service number:
16/740
Enlistment date:
30/06/1915
Enlistment place:
Auckland, Takapuna, New Zealand
Units:
 —  New Zealand Maori (Pioneer) Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
24/12/1917
Place of death:
28.J.10.a.65.80, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)
Age:
21

Cemetery

Distinctions and medals 3

Points of interest 3

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place
#3 ‘Place of death’

Additional information

Hori Takoko was born in Tikitiki, East Coast, North Island, New Zealand on 20 August 1896. His parents were Wi and Marara Takoko of the Ngati Porou iwi. It is not known if he had siblings.

Hori was a labourer when he enlisted in the 2nd Maori Contingent on 30 June 1915 at Takapuna, Auckland, service number 16/740. He trained at Narrow Neck Camp, on the north shore of Auckland Harbour. This was the training camp for Pioneer Battalion recruits from New Zealand iwi and Pacific islanders.

He embarked on the troop ship Waitemata along with the 6th Reinforcement on 18 September 1915, arriving at Suez, Egypt on 26 October. In February the Pioneer Battalion was formed from the survivors of the 1st Maori Contingent, the newly-arrived 2nd Contingent, and members of the Otago Mounted Rifles. In March the 3rd Maori Contingent arrived, filling the numbers to battalion size. Hori trained at Moascar Camp, Ismailia until he sailed to France with the New Zealand Division on 9 April 1916 for Western Front service.

The Pioneer Battalion supported the Division by building roads and railways, digging trenches and performing the many physical tasks required in static warfare. This could involve front-line as well as behind the lines work. The troops were armed.

On 27 October 1917 Hori was promoted to lance-corporal. From 9-27 November 1917 he was on leave in England.

The New Zealand Division was in the Polygon Wood area, after the end of the Third Battle of Ypres. Much of the time was spent in wiring, repairing crumbling trenches and improving defences. The landscape was covered with waterlogged shellholes. The opposing German forces generally held higher ground and movement in the New Zealand lines was often observed and shelled or machine-gunned.

During this time the Pioneer Battalion worked on a tramway to Crucifix, duck-board tracks from Polygon Wood to Black Watch Corner and a communication trench from Polygon Butte to the front line at Jolting Houses between Noordemdhoek and Reutel. In December the weather was often freezing, making ground work difficult. German shelling was often heavy, affecting both front line and back areas. The battalion history is not detailed on this period and it is difficult to say how Hori Takoko died on 24 December 1917 but it is likely shellfire was responsible.

He was originally buried at the Polygon Butte. On the formation of the Buttes New British Cemetery he was reinterred there in Plot I, Row B, Grave 8.

Files 1

Sources 6

"The Maoris in the Great War : a history of the New Zealand Native Contingent and the Pioneer Battalion", Cowan J., Auckland, Whitcombe & Tombs, 1926, pg.126-128.
Sources used
Archives New Zealand
https://archway.archives.govt.nz/
Sources used
Auckland Cenotaph
http://www.aucklandmuseum.com/war-memorial/online-cenotaph
Sources used
Auckland Weekly News
http://www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/dbtw-wpd/heritageimages/
Sources used
CWGC
https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/480466/takoko,-hori/
Sources used
NZEF Project
http://nzef.adfa.edu.au/index.html
Sources used