Topic: Te Mete Smith (1897-1918)

Topic type:

After spending two days at the Front during World War I, Tauranga labourer Te Mete Smith developed trench fever. Tuberculosis followed and he was sent from France to Brockenhurst in England where he died on 27 December 1918. Story by Debbie McCauley.

Te Mete Smith was born at Bethlehem in Tauranga on 5 May 1897. His parents were Kere Smith and Tiraherehere Tekitu.

Te Mete worked as a labourer at a Whakatane orchard.

He enlisted to fight during World War I from Rotorua on 26 July 1917 (Maori Pioneer Battalion, Service No. 20015). On 22 November 1917 the Maori Contingent, 23rd Reinforcements, left New Zealand on board the 'Willochra', reaching Liverpool on 7 January 1918.

On 27 March 1918 he left for France, being based at Etaples. He was then transferred to Abeelee camp, joining the Pioneer Battalion at Bertrancourt on 10 April. 

After spending two days at the Front, Te Mete developed trench fever, falling ill on 12 April. After it developed into tuberculosis he was hospitalised in France. With no improvement Te Mete was sent to the New Zealand No. 1 General Hospital, Brockenhurst, in Hampshire, England, arriving on 28 April 1918.

Private Te Mete Smith died of tuberculosis in England on 27 December 1918, aged 21. He was buried three days later in the Brockenhurst (St. Nicholas) Churchyard (Plot A, Row 4, Grave 22).

Te Mete Smith (1897-1918)



Archives New Zealand: Military personnel file.

Auckland War Memorial Museum: Cenotaph Record.

Births, Deaths & Marriages Online (New Zealand).

Church, Clare (2002). New Zealand Graves at Brockenhurst: 93 New Zealand soldiers remembered from World War One (p. 225).


A version of this article was archived in August 2016 at Perma CC

Discuss This Topic

There are 0 comments in this discussion.

join this discussion

Te Mete Smith (1897-1918)

Note:Service Number: 20015
First Names:Te Mete
Last Name:Smith
Date of Birth:5 May 1897
Place of Birth:Bethlehem, Tauranga
Country of birth:New Zealand
Date of death:27 December 1918
Place of death:Brockenhurst, England
Place of burial:Brockenhurst (St. Nicholas) Churchyard
Fathers name:Kere Smith
Fathers place of birth:Tauranga, New Zealand
Mothers name:Tiraherehere Tekitu
Mothers place of birth:Whakatane, New Zealand
Military Service:World War I (1914-1918)