Mahia reenacts US Marine training

  • 27/10/2013

The east coast community of Mahia is a popular seaside getaway, but today it was invaded by US Marines, or at least a group of enthusiasts who looked the part.

It's 70 years since American troops carried out a mock Pacific island landing there.

From island to Pacific island, the Marines hopped, chasing the Japanese, practising en route at Mahia.

The Hawke's Bay holiday hotspot today was a training ground, as the historic landings 70 years ago that were crucial to the American World War II campaign were commemorated.

"We're also here to remember our marines are on the ground because they're training with the New Zealand Defence Force in an exercise at this moment, so this is a relationship that's looking back and we're also looking forward," says Colin Crosby of the American embassy.

"But we're also going to remember the New Zealand Third Division, our jungle fighters, who got forgotten," says Robin Earle of the New Zealand Military Vehicle Collectors Club. "But they were fighting in the Solomons in 1933, '34."

William Blake was a child when the Marines landed and vividly remembers coming across them on horseback.

"I was told to 'Halt, who goes there?' and I replied that it was myself and my horse and 'What's the matter with you fellas? Can't you dress up?'" says Mr Blake.

That was before one soldier asked for a ride.

"He says 'Righto boy, you get on and I'll get off,'"

And today, from tanks and trucks to planes, it was God bless America in Mahia.

3 News

source: newshub archive