A United States naval officer enjoys hāngī food with a Tainui kuia (female elder) at Ngāruawāhia in February or March 1943. Ngāruawāhia was the headquarters of the Kīngitanga, the Māori King movement, which, under the leadership of Te Puea Hērangi, continued to oppose involvement in overseas wars. They were, however, very active in home service, fundraising, food production and caring for the sick and wounded. American servicemen arrived in New Zealand from June 1942 and were welcomed at Ngāruawāhia on a number of occasions. During the time American forces were stationed in New Zealand a number of violent incidents arose due to tensions – sometimes racially based – between American servicemen and Māori, but there were also many instances of hospitality and mutual friendship.
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