It’s not just Cunliffe that makes things up

David Cunliffe made up the war record of one of his relatives, he explained it away by saying he was confused with the war record of his relative’s brother.

Now Michael Woodhouse has done a similar thing, though not awarding medals that were never won, but instead claiming heritage to a dead Gallipoli soldier.

Veterans’ Affairs Minister Michael Woodhouse has upset an Otago family by wrongly claiming Trooper Frank Woodhouse, who died in Gallipoli aged just 20, was his great uncle.

Woodhouse told a reporter while he was in Turkey for the 99th anniversary of the Anzac landings last month that he had seen the name on a memorial there and after checking online found it was his great uncle.

But a spokesman for the aggrieved family, Gareth Woodhouse, said the man was his great uncle, not the minister’s. The family had his medals, a letter from the King about his service, and the original of a picture now on the Auckland Cenotaph website.

He had sent a “long, pointed” email to Michael Woodhouse about his claim and he had come back with a “semi-apology”.

Gareth Woodhouse said he had not done an exact genealogy, but Frank was the brother of his grandfather Cecil, who just before he died had told him about Frank. ¬† Read more »

An email from a reader

Last week we published another email from this reader about the service of his father.

Unfortunately his father passed away the same day, he writes:

Hi Cam,

Appreciate your post last Sunday with my ANZAC email. My Father passed away on that day, last Sunday afternoon, blood pressure suddenly went low then he went, no fuss, no drama.

My father went to war and fought, with weapons and obviously hand to hand against the enemy, and as I alluded, he only reminisced about the humorous situations.

I found his humility very respectful, to realise what the ANZACs went through with guts and honour in all recent wars makes me more proud.

To have a political party leader fabricate lies about an award for valour given to his Grandfather, just ¬†to gather some sort of sick vicarious¬†kudos, is a blatant dishonour to our mates in arms including my Father, who didn’t win any medals except the medal of a son’s respect.

What will Cunliffe say on Queens Birthday?

Our condolences for your loss, but your father will have passed knowing his son was a respectful and proud Kiwi. His father is lucky to have a son like him to honour him and his service.

Kia Kaha.


David Cunliffe admits medal mix up, but where is the rest of the explanation?


Fairfax reports

Labour leader David Cunliffe has admitted he muddled the war medals won by his ancestors.

In a speech to a Young Labour conference at the weekend Cunliffe marked ANZAC day and said his Grandfather Bob Tuke was awarded the Military Medal for valour in World War I.

In fact the medal was awarded to his brother Edmund Tuke, who is Cunliffe’s great uncle.

The discrepancy was picked up by a blogger.

A spokesman for Cunliffe said he had ”mixed up” the medals. Bob Tuke was instead awarded service medals.

Mixed them up eh? ¬† Read more »

Cunliffe caught in another mistruth

At the Young Labour conference David Cunliffe made these claims.

Yesterday was ANZAC day ‚Äď a day when, no matter who you are or how long you have been here, our nation commemorates the values that generations of New Zealanders have fought for.

At my local RSA, I spoke of my Grandfather Bob Tuke, who fought in World War One.

Although his letters home understated it, he lived in constant fear; he lived with lice, damp and dysentery. He watched his friends die in France, Egypt and Gallipoli.

He was awarded a Military Medal for valour, but hardly mentioned it to his family.

Sounds good, a hero for a family member, we’d all like that. Even better for a politician to use in a speech.

Fortunately for us most of the war records of our servicemen, including that of my great grandfather who served at Gallipoli are available online.

So I thought I would check the war records for Bob Tuke…and I found him…there is only one Robert Clive Tuke…and a slight problem for David Cunliffe.

Tuke1 Read more »

One is leader material, the other isn’t

Via one of our commenters last night:


Even dogs know when they with a winner or a loser.

PS:  Note to #heyclint, Matt and David:  NOBODY, EVER, IN THE HISTORY OF MAN, has EVER looked good in a cycling helmet.

On another note it is never a good look either to sidle into a Dawn Parade 15 minutes late and take your seat int he middle of a hymn drawing attention to the fact that a) you are a disrespectful prick and b) you were late for a Dawn Parade.

I mean it isn’t like the time changes on these events…it certainly hasn’t changed since that fateful dawn at Gallipoli nearly one hundred years ago so why on earth would David Cunliffe rock up late to the parade? ¬† Read more »

An email from a reader about ANZAC day

I enjoy most emails that readers send.

Sometimes they touch something and I post them so others can enjoy them

Thank you for the evocative Anzac writings and memories Cam, the video for the Australian mates struck home to me. I came to New Zealand in 1974; NZ has been good to me personally and professionally and is my home. My father still resides in Australia and at 92 still doesn’t talk about Kokoda however he does have a few related memories about his time as a officers unarmed¬†defense¬†instructor in Melbourne installed 1943 and subsequently¬†an MP NCO in Queensland where he encountered many a likely lad, for example Phil ‚Äėthe Greek‚Äô. Humorous and interesting stories!

I heard that for many years my father carried a deep hatred for the Japanese, wouldn’t have a Japanese TV nor drive their cars. Through his job he was issued with a Nissan which amazingly was somehow written off within weeks, with a smile he went back to his favoured Dodge Ute. That prejudice for him has passed, as soon he will. I never really knew my father well as he shot through when I was eight, both my parents in the wrong marriage, another casualty of war married too quickly upon returning home. He was a tough man, one who I hear garnered great respect from all quarters, the toughest man I didn‚Äôt know.¬† Read more »


Reader Observations of Auckland Dawn Service

Some readers have emailed about this morning’s dawn service in Auckland.

I have gone to the Anzac Day dawn service for years, and in Auckland it is traditional for the Mayor to speak.

Dame Cath, Les Mills Christine Fletcher, John Banks, Dick Hubbard, others and for the last term Len Brown spoke.

This year someone recognised that the mayor was no longer respected enough to take on this serious role.

The gelded mayor was relegated to delivering a wreath to the cenotaph on behalf of the citizens of Auckland.

I felt even that was not appropriate, and comments from those around me supported my views. More emphatic was that everyone was standing in silence until Len’s diminished task was announced.

It was good that someone realised that his participation was not appropriate. To debase a ceremony so important to New Zealanders would be unthinkable.

Read more »

Is this what you’d expect of a Prime Minister?

Cunliffe On Phone 2

David Cunliffe checking his phone during ANZAC service

A reader emails:


Appreciate you may not want to politicise today however i saw this at this mornings Anzac Service in Titirangi.

It would be wrong to say Cunliffe was on the phone all the time during the service as he wasn’t….however I think anyone wanting to be our PM should be able to resist checking messages at all during an ANZAC service. He should have had his phone turned off and not been tempted to bring it out at all.


Anon ¬† Read more »

ANZAC Day – Lest we Forget


Original Post: 25 April 2006

This is my ANZAC Day trib­ute post­ing. ANZAC Day means a great deal for me and my fam­ily. I sup­pose it is because we have a con­nec­tion to the orig­i­nal ANZACS in 1915 and Gal­lipoli and to a vet­eran of a war much fresher in our minds, Viet Nam.

Firstly I pay trib­ute to my Great Grand-father Harry Crozier. I never really knew him, he died many years ago. Harry served in the  Gal­lipoli cam­paign and thank­fully came home alive albeit with only one working leg. I know he spent con­sid­er­able time in Rotorua con­va­lesc­ing and learned to carve maori carv­ings as part of his reha­bil­i­ta­tion.

The sec­ond per­son I pay trib­ute to is a guy who truly epit­o­mises the ANZAC spirit. He is an Aussie, liv­ing in New Zealand who fought for New Zealand in Viet Nam. He is mar­ried to a Kiwi and has three Kiwi kids, and three Kiwi grand kids. He is also my Father-in-law.

41873 Gnr Atkins KG 161 Bty was in Viet Nam in 1966. Based in¬†Nui Dat¬†and one of the first to arrive and estab¬≠lish the Base and gun posi¬≠tions. ‚ÄúOz‚ÄĚ par¬≠tic¬≠i¬≠pated in the famous ¬†Bat¬≠tle of Long Tan¬†where the Kiwi guns were instru¬≠men¬≠tal in sav¬≠ing 3 pla¬≠toons of D Com¬≠pany of the ¬†6th¬†Bat¬≠tal¬≠ion, Royal Aus¬≠tralian Reg¬≠i¬≠ment(6RAR) and enabling the thrash¬≠ing of a Reg¬≠i¬≠ment of Viet Cong.

Each gun fired over 1200 rounds that day and night in sup¬≠port of the Aussies. The bat¬≠tle was fought in a rub¬≠ber tree plan¬≠ta¬≠tion near the vil¬≠lage of Long Tan, about 40¬†km north-east of Vung Tau, South Viet¬≠nam on August 18‚Äď19, 1966. The bat¬≠tle was fought all after¬≠noon and most of the night in pour¬≠ing mon¬≠soon rain. The guns ran so hot that wet blan¬≠kets were draped over them in an attempt to keep the bar¬≠rels cool.

Kevin tells many sto¬≠ries of his time in Viet Nam but they are not at all ‚Äúwarry‚ÄĚ to use his term. They speak a sim¬≠ple truth that war is tough and bru¬≠tal. He often says he hopes his chil¬≠dren never have to go to war and thank¬≠fully they prob¬≠a¬≠bly won‚Äôt have to.

It seems so long ago, yet for some only yes¬≠ter¬≠day. The Gov¬≠ern¬≠ment to this day still treats vet¬≠er¬≠ans with dis¬≠dain with their han¬≠dling, and obfus¬≠ca¬≠tion of the Agent Orange scan¬≠dal. I say a scan¬≠dal because that is what it is. You need only ask any vet¬≠eran about Agent Orange and they will tell you they weren‚Äôt just sprayed with they were doused in it, they drank water soaked with it and were often wet to their socks with Agent Orange.¬†Check out this photo of Nui Dat in 1966¬†. Every coun¬≠try in Viet Nam at the time has acknowl¬≠edged it hap¬≠pened and com¬≠pen¬≠sated their vet¬≠er¬≠ans and New Zealand con¬≠tin¬≠ues to deny it occurred and con¬≠tin¬≠ues to hold spu¬≠ri¬≠ous enquiries. [The Government has since said “Sorry”, if it was at all possible to say sorry without actually saying the word, but for me it was too little, too late] ¬†¬† Read more »

ANZAC Day – A Soldiers Memoir