The late Sapper Kahika enlisted in the New Zealand Regular Force on 6 January 1965 and was subsequently seconded for duty with the Assault Pioneer Platoon of 1st Battalion, The Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment which he joined in Malaysia in November 1967.
On 13 May 1968 Sapper Kahika arrived in Vietnam as a member of the Assault Pioneer Section which was attached to Victor Three Company of 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment/New Zealand (ANZAC) Battalion.
On 22 June 1968 Sapper Kahika was part of a nine man patrol which was engaged with an enemy company of about seventy to eighty strong. The enemy opened fire on the patrol at about ten metres range and within the first minute had wounded five men. During the initial exchange of fire one of the riflemen was severely wounded and remained lying unconscious only five metres from the nearest enemy entrenchments.
Whilst armed helicopters were engaging the enemy, the second in command of the patrol (Lance Corporal Ropeta) directed Sapper Kahika to move forward and recover the wounded rifleman whilst he provided covering fire. Sapper Kahika unhesitatingly ran forward over ten metres of exposed ground, lifted the wounded man and carried him to cover. He then continued to participate in the action which lasted for one hour and forty minutes.
Later, when a relief force had arrived and the wounded had been evacuated, he requested to be allowed to remain and help with the search of the area. He took part in the subsequent search of the enemy company defensive position and personally investigated two of the tunnel systems found there.
His competence, quickness and, above all, bravery in recovering the wounded rifleman was an example and inspiration to the remainder of the patrol. In remaining after the action to give his specialised engineers knowledge to the search he showed a commendable endurance, toughness of character and devotion to duty. His actions reflect great credit on himself, his Regiment and the New Zealand Army.
Sapper Kahika’s award was received by his niece Miss Tania Kahika-Foote.