Riki Reihana Ihaka

Ingoa whānau
Ingoa tuatahi
Riki Reihana

World War 2

Tau Rangatū
Wāhi noho
Te Kao, New Zealand
Whanaunga tino tata i te wā o te kuhunga
Mrs Tepaea Ihaka (mother), Te Kao, New Zealand
Ngā tuhinga

Brothers' Rawhiti and Reweti also served with the Battalion.  Reweti was killed on 2 November 1942 during the Libyan campaign.

Takupu (2)

Riki was taken POW and had to undergo hand amputation. A surgical operation that was conducted by German surgeons. when Riki returned to NZ I remember (among other things two things about him) was his amazing bass voice. He had the 'lowest' bass voice I have ever heard and he would entertain everyone including us younger ones with his quality singing of 'old man river' and similar songs of his time. He could also roll ciggies with one hand. Rolling the paper and tobacco along the top of his leg. Before licking the lot together forming a perfect round specimen equal to any tailormades and he was quick. He'd light his match (way before cigarette lighters) using his one hand by flicking his thumb along the head of the match. This was pure magic and fascination to us kids.

On his return to New Zealand. Uncle Riki spent much of his life with his sister, Maki, and family in St Heliers, Auckland. He also spent some time with us as Dad had us travelling around New Zealand. I will never forget his artificial hand. It was a clumsy contraption with belts that were strapped around the upper body. At the end was a long plastic sleeve into which he would slide his arm. The hand was a "click and twist" arrangement that could be removed if desired. Goodness only knows how he articulated the fingers but he could. However, Uncle very rarely used this piece of equipment, preferring to work with one hand. As has been commented, already, he was a past master at rolling cigarettes, something that we as children, could never do with two hands.