I was reminded to watch this documentary “Coastwatchers” which was a research project of Willie Cuthers who was in the same class as my beloved and they both completed their Masters degrees in Applied Indigenous Knowledge last year to be conferred this year but due to COVID-19 they were unable to have the ceremonies.
Despite that, Willie Cuther’s research is a moving one in which his indigenous topic had to do with his Cook Islands grandfather who had once been a Coastwatcher for the NZ maritime forces but did not get the same privileges or benefits as those of his NZ counterparts.
I would definitely recommend watching this documentary as it tells the story of his search for information about his grandfather which brought about a whole untold story of many other Pasifika coastwatchers who sometimes lived in extreme conditions in order to fulfil their duties as civilians during the time of World War 2.
That is in supporting a war effort that wasn’t of their making and putting themselves and their families at risk should the “enemy” discover them. One such incident did happen on one of the islands and 17 were killed and this was the very real threat that they lived under.
I hope that Willied Cuthers and the many other descendants of the Pasifika Coastwatchers get the recognition that they deserve in their efforts to support NZ during a time of crisis and threat. That they too can be honoured in the work that they did to keep the Pacific safe during wartime in the 1940s…