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31.03.2014 14:25 Age: 6 yrs


Story of the flying officer John Pohe

Format: Documentary Series
Length: 52 minutes
Broadcaster: Maori Television

The unforgettable story of one of New Zealand's most extraordinary war heroes is revealed on screen for the first time in this exclusive documentary for Maori Television.

Flying Officer, Porokoru Patapu (John) Pohe, became the first Maori pilot of the NZRAF and a leader of air crews in the skies over Europe during the Second World War.

He served 22 missions in his first tour of duty when the average life expectancy was just six; flew bombers through the equivalent of hell without receiving a scratch; landed wounded aircraft without wheels; and could navigate by the stars.

His feats earned him the nickname "Lucky Johnny" and the confidence of RAF Bomber Command who assigned him to train allied airmen from around the world.

On 22 September 1943, John Pohe flew a fateful mission that led to his German capture and contribution to one of the most famous events of the Second World War, The Great Escape.

Yet he is better known in the countries he served than in his homeland.

More than 100 crew, actors and musicians supported Arahanga to bring this story to the screen with the qualities and expertise of film drama.

Visual effects, CGI graphics, drama re-enactments and an Original Score are supported by extensive research to raise the bar of television documentary making in New Zealand.