danger would not only be to the Maoris themselves, but to those who came in contactwith them, either in the camps or on troopships.” Dr. Makgill felt that due to theincidence of “carriers” of typhoid, and the risk of volunteers coming from areas wherethe disease was rife, inoculations would do little to prevent an epidemic breaking out.His department never publicly agreed with his concerns, but did engage in aninoculation programme for every volunteer in the contingent.
The camp at Avondale
By the end of September, Avondale’s racecourse had been chosen for the site of thetraining camp. According to a written account of the time, the Maori name given tothe Avondale camp was “Waiatarua”. Between the 7
October, the ArmyService Corps were busy setting up the camp, with all tents pitched by the 16
and awater supply, showers and sanitation was provided. The first of the contingent arrivedon Saturday the 17
of October. Divine service was held on the next day, conductedby one of two Maori clergymen in the camp, the Rev. William Keretene (the otherclergyman was the Rev. Hone Wi.) By the end of that week, close to the fullcomplement of 500 volunteers were encamped on the racecourse. Command of thecamp was given to Capt. H. Peacock (promoted before the end of the year to Major),and Lieutenant A. E. Jones of St Stephens School in Parnell. The Avondaleracecourse managers gave army staff the use of all buildings. Hutchinson Bros, thegrocery firm, supplied the men with goods at town prices via an on-site canteen. Tentsfor a hospital and for use as recreation facilities were provided. A number of thevolunteers were young men from Te Aute College, Three Kings Wesleyan Collegeand St Stephen’s School in Parnell, with even a couple coming from as far as theChatham Islands.The First Maori Contingent was to be dubbed a “Pioneer” battalion, with the intendedaim of providing the skilled labour for the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. Theywore a badge on their hats and shirt collars by the time they embarked for Egypt in1915 showing a taiaha and a tewhatewha crossed through a crown, with the motto “TeHokowhitu a Tu” (“the seventy twice-told warriors of the war god Tu”, this figure of 140 being the favoured size for the traditional war party or
.) Their trainingroutine was well-documented by the newspapers over the course of that summer of 1914-1915: