The Bay of Plenty celebrated one of its oldest veterans on Tuesday, as part of its Anzac Day commemorations.
Trevor Blaker fought in the North Africa campaign and was then taken as a prisoner of war.
He's now 100 years old, but he still remembers well his days on the front lines.
"You didn't have time really to worry about your mates getting killed," he told Newshub.
"You walk around with a sort of numb feeling for a while, sort of like in a dream."
In 1941, Mr Blaker was 23 when he arrived in Egypt, and for the next 18 months he fought with the 20th battalion of the 2nd New Zealand expeditionary force.
"You always had the urge to run away. But you wouldn't do it for the simple reason you wouldn't run away from your mates, let them down," he said.
Many of Mr Blaker's comrades were among the almost 10,000 Kiwis killed during the campaign. He was one of 4000 Kiwis taken prisoner.
"We were practically starved to death, you couldn't stand on your two feet more than a few minutes," he said.
"At night time the guards used to get drunk and fire into the camp for the fun of it."
Mr Blaker ended up in Poland and was eventually liberated by the famous desert rats.
Those who are no longer here remain at the front of his mind.
"I made some wonderful friends over there, it's good to bring back memories again. I'll never forget them."