Tuesday, January 2, 2018

VALE WIKI KAHIKA

Wiki Kahika died last Thursday.   His tangi is being held at the Te Rere Marae Opotiki and tomorrow he will be laid to rest in the Returned Services Section of the Opotiki cemetery.

Wiki was a gentle giant of a man (until aroused).   He served with Victor 3 Company, part of 4RAR/NZ (ANZAC) Battalion, in Vietnam as one of our attached Assault Pioneers.   On 22 June 1968 he was a member of a nine man patrol that hit an enemy company estimated to number between 70-80.  For the next two hours they fought a battle for survival.   Early on in the engagement one of our soldiers (Private Wickman) was mortally wounded.    Wiki ran forwarded ten metres over exposed ground under heavy fire, lifted  Wickman onto his back and carried him back to cover.    Three members of that patrol were decorated for bravery with Sapper Kahika being awarded a 'Mentioned in Despatches'.

In 2011 I was privileged to meet Wiki again when I was involved in filming a documentary covering that action to be screened on ANZAC Day.     Wiki had changed.   He was reserved and quietly spoken.    One thing he said resonated with us hugely and I remember his words very clearly ... "Before I went to Vietnam I used to enjoy eeling.   When I returned from Vietnam I realised I could never kill another living thing".

Go in peace Wiki.   You did your duty,  Rest easy.


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