Friday, 31 August 2012

A Maori Farewell

On 19 August an IED explosion took the lives of three New Zealand troops in Afghanistan.

Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, 26, was the first New Zealand female killed in that war and her colleagues who also perished were Richard Harris, 21, and Lance Corporal Luke Tamatea, 31.  Two Kiwi troops were killed there earlier this month.

The New Zealand Defence Force released the above video of hundreds of troops performing a Maori funeral Haka at the Burnham Military Camp near Christchurch.

Haka is used throughout New Zealand by many, not only Māori, to demonstrate their collective thoughts. There is a haka for each of the Services, as well as the Defence Force. 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. Source 


Oldrightie said...

A different approach to the indifferent ignorance of our own Government's suppression of this war's news. They wish to forget it so ergo, must the rest of us.

subrosa said...

You're right OR, little has been mentioned about this war this summer.

Joe Public said...

Our other antipodean allies lost another 5 x soldiers too.

True-to-form, their political leader, safely ensconced in a comfortable office somewhere, vowed to continue to waste other people's lives in support of her political ambitions.

JRB said...

Another young life sacrificed on the alter of what is proving to be a totally misguided military intervention.

... but I’m curious – why the sniper in the ghillie suit leading the cortege?

subrosa said...

Sorry I should have acknowledged them too Joe. I was just emotional about the way in which the Haka is used.

subrosa said...

There were three corteges there JRB and I think having the sniper present is part of the ceremony. Perhaps in the same way as some regiments here hold arms aloft on occasions?

Brian said...


What a waste of fine young people.

The Kiwis were travelling in a Humvee convoy, something that American troops have needed special permission to do since 2007. The NZDF has trotted out the line that no vehicle would have survived the IED and that the Humvee is the best available vehicle for the conditions in Bamyan Province. Wasn't that the old British Army line before they bought MRAPs and learned that 600lb blasts were survivable? Even EFP blasts can be mitigated with add-on armour.

Ironically, the NZ troops were part of the Provincial Reconstruction Tream so their commanders could have upgraded and widened roads, bridges and culverts using money within the development budget to allow heavier, better protected vehicles to operate - even the Estonians and Bulgarians use MaxxPro Dashes in Afghanistan. As the NZ MoD considered selling 35 of its 105 NZ LAVs a couple of years ago (only 13 deployed to Afghanistan), it would appear that the NZDF bought too many of those vehicles that would be ideal for their preferred type of war (ie conventional manoeuvre warfare) and not the long term asymmetric counter-insurgency operations that have been the mode since the end of WW2.

Why do governments value the lives of foreigners over their own people? Just like the Vietnamese, the Afghans know that they only have to wait another couple of years before the infidels leave and they win - or another ten years, or a hundred - because they are still playing the same home fixture since Alexander the Great marched through.

subrosa said...

Yes Joe, I have a did notice that and will acknowledge it tomorrow.

subrosa said...

Brian, you're so good at research.

Yes your facts are right I believe.

What a true last paragraph.

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