Winiata Kapinga was my great granduncle, all of my relatives I have contacted have referred to him as Koro Wini.
He was born in Ohura on the 13th of April 1889, but it is uncertain at which age he passed away.
He grew up in the Kapinga family Homestead in Aria with his brother Rore and his sister, my great great grandmother, nanny Ani. Before and after the war he was a farmer on their whanau farm. Everyone says he was a grumpy old koro and no one was allowed to come visit without notice because he was worried it would be people coming to steal his fruit from the orchard.
At the age of 29 he travelled to a foreign country he knew little about with complete strangers, as a private in the Maori contingents 32nd Reinforcements. They departed Auckland on their vessel the Ruahine, in October 1918, on their way to London England. I am unaware if the Maori Contingents 32nd Reinforcements ever reached the battlefields, but it seems unlikely as the war ended on the 11th of November the same year.
There is very little information on the Maori Contingent 32nd Reinforcements, in fact there is very little information on Koro Wini himself. He never had children so he has no direct descendants which makes it very difficult to find accurate information on him.
My father, who has a passion for whakapapa (genealogy) said that our Kapinga roots have been the hardest to trace back on our family tree.
I’m sure that the men of the 32nd Reinforcements were ready to fight for our country alongside our allies and the many other ANZACs. I believe it is safe to say that- with Koro Wini being the only member of my large family to go to the great war- my ancestors were lovers not fighters.
After researching Winiata Kapinga, I’d like to learn more about the role in which my culture played in World War One.