Walter Callaway

Walter Callaway was one of the first ever to fight abroad for New Zealand. Being Maori, he defied the British dictum of the day that "no natives could fight in a white man's war." Brushing aside those bigoted attitudes, he excelled as a soldier in the harsh South African conditions and was eventually promoted to lieutenant - making him probably the first person-of-colour to become an officer in the new Zealand, as well as British military forces.

This came though at a great personal cost. While galloping to the rescue of an Australian in dire danger, he was shot and almost fatally injured. From that moment, his life changed irrevocably.

This true story reveals a forgotten hero in what many term as "New Zealand's Forgotten War". It tells not only about a remarkable soldier, but also highlights the horrors and hardships of a war, which later British Prime minister described as "infamous, criminal and wholly indefensible".

"Walter Callaway" is the first and only published account of a Maori in the South African War, 1899-1902.

It is a story that needed to be told.

Below is a slide show of some Callaway pictures related to his war experiences

On the slides to scroll through these images

Callaway Slides

Brown wrote about Callaway in his unpublished memoirs.

Learn how Callaway cunningly raised enough money to pay the New Zealanders' first salary in a foreign battlefield - by winning card games and gambling with the Australians!

Click anywhere on the yellow background to read more of Thomas Brown's memories of Walter Callaway...

Amongst my section mates was Wally, [Walter] who dearly loved a "little flutter" and it wasn't long before he was initiated into Rimington "school".

Wally possessed a poker face - he could hold four aces in his hand, have another three up his sleeve and still look the innocent lamb. He left his section mates one evening after dark and returned just before "Stand To".

"How did you get on?" I whispered.. "Won over eighty of the best (£80) and I have it stowed inside my shirt" he answered.

Wally wondered what he should do with his winnings and at my suggestion he interviewed our officer, Mr Linsay, to whom he handed the amount.

Later in the day we were surprised to hear from the Orderly Sergt. "Fall in everyone who wants pay "Sergts £3, Corporals £2, other ranks £1.

"Thanks to Wally" I drew £1.

It was my first pay day on the Veldt.

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