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Not as a Pākehā boy named Huia.
"It was quite common back in the day for non-Māori children to have Māori names — there were quite a few of us who did," Mr Ockwell said.
Now in his late 80s, Mr Ockwell was among veterans and community members gathered at a moving Mosgiel RSA Armistice Day memorial service on Saturday.
Official speeches by memorial organiser Kevin Thompson and Taieri MP Ingrid Leary referenced the significance of Armistice Day in the context of Gaza, Ukraine and other international conflicts.
Mr Ockwell was born in 1935 in St Kilda.
He qualified as an accountant and went on to become a teacher at King’s College in South Dunedin. In 1963, he received a phone call inviting him to serve as a paymaster for the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment in West Malaysia and Borneo.
That decision led to six years’ deployment across East Asia in Malaya, Singapore, Borneo, Thailand and Vietnam.
The Ockwell’s treasured memorabilia of their time away includes photos of those who served and were killed in action — people top of mind for them during Saturday’s service.
What’s in a name
Huia Ockwell was named because of his grandmother’s interest in history.
Lord Victor Alexander Herbert Huia Onslow was the first baby born to a vice-regal in New Zealand, and he was given the name Huia by Ngatī Huia hapū in Otaki, after the NZ native huia bird.
At his high-profile baptism in 1891, the boy was dressed in a Māori cloak, with a long huia feather in his hair. Speeches included pleas to the Governor-General for the British to stop the shooting of huia birds so that his boy might grow up to see the beautiful bird which bore his name.