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ALOFI, Niue (April 25, 2001 - Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat)---A new history book about the 150 Niue volunteers who served during World War I was published this week.

The 195-page book, written in English and Niuean, sold out at a government function organized by the Niue Returned Servicemen's Association.

The book, "My Heart is Crying a Little," was written by Margaret Pointer, wife of former New Zealand High Commissioner to Niue Michael Pointer.

Mrs. Pointer said Niuean volunteers served as pioneer troops with the New Zealand Maori contingent, which was running short of men after the Gallipoli campaign.

"(The New Zealanders) were having a difficult time in 1915," she said. "I believe at that moment they remembered that the year before, Niue and the Cook Islands had offered troops," she said.

Although the Niuean contingent had a difficult time, she said perseverance kept many of them alive.

"A majority of them spoke no English. So the three-month training in Niue was dramatic. They had to learn basic English commands," she said.

"They had a lot of problems with the food because they weren’t used to having so much meat in their diet. So the army had to change the food for the islanders."

Many of the Niueans ended up in hospitals.

Pointer said the Niueans were provided copies of the New Testament so they could continue their religious practices.

For additional reports from Radio Australia/Pacific Beat, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia/Pacific Beat.

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