Shouting. Stomping. Pounding one’s chest. All powerful actions to bid farewell to three fallen comrades.
Performed in unison by 200 warriors – the farewell ritual is an unforgettable tribute.
This Haka – ritual expression – is used throughout New Zealand by many, not only Māori, to demonstrate their collective thoughts. It is an outward display of inner thoughts and emotions.
Units with the NZ Army have their own haka. This video shows the soldiers of 2/1 RNZIR Battalion performing their Unit haka, powerfully acknowledging the lives and feats of their fallen comrades as they come onto the Unit’s parade ground.
It is also an emotive farewell for they will leave via the waharoa (the carved entrance way) for the very last time.
Soldiers from the 2nd and 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment performed the tribute for Corporal Luke Tamatea, 31, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, 26, and Private Richard Harris, 21, at their funeral service at the Burnham Military Camp in Christchurch. The were killed by a IED in Afghanistan in August.
My thanks to the Student Veterans Association at the University of South Florida for bringing this to my attention. May we all have a send off like this when our time comes.