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Waka Taua to feature in Passchendaele Commemorations

Waka Taua – Te Hono ki Aotearoa (The Link to New Zealand) to feature in Passchendaele Commemorations, Belgium.

As part of the commemorations marking the centenary of New Zealand’s involvement in the Battle of Passchendaele, Toi Māori in partnership with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will feature the waka Te Hono ki Aotearoa, based in Leiden, Netherlands to take part in a commemoration ceremony alongside the Māori Cultural Group of the New Zealand Defence Force and New Zealand Youth Ambassadors at the Menin Gate in Ieper on Wednesday 11 October at 7pm.

8 kaihoe (paddlers) with a wide range of skills and experience have been selected from New Zealand (departing Friday evening 6 October) whilst 6 Dutch from the Waka group of Njord Royal Rowing Club in Leiden, Netherlands will complete the 14 strong group of kaihoe.

1. Robert Gabel (Taitokerau waka region)

2. Rutene Gabel (Taitokerau waka region)

3. Ethan Smith (Taitokerau waka region)

4. Junior Teevale (Taitokerau waka region)

5. Namaka Barclay-Kerr (Tainui/Waikato waka region)

6. Anaru Irwin (Tainui/Waikato waka region)

7. Parekura Collins (Tainui/Waikato waka region)

8. Tamahau Tangitu (Tauranga moana waka region)

9. Thijs Lubberman (Njord waka group)

10. Justus Hamann (Njord waka group)

11. Koos Wabeke (Njord waka group)

12. Fabian d`Angremont (Njord waka group)

13. Thomas Kraanen (Njord waka group)

14. Patrick Haak (Njord waka group)


Concept: From the Uttermost Ends of the Earth

New Zealanders are a voyaging people. The first settlers of New Zealand voyaged across the Pacific to New Zealand in waka. The first European settlers came in their own waka in later centuries. More recent New Zealanders have voyaged to New Zealand in new ways.

One hundred years ago more than 100,000 young New Zealand men boarded waka to come to Europe.

They took on this voyage not knowing the terrible and terrifying conditions that would await them, first on the cliffs of Gallipoli, then on the killing fields of the Somme, and, 100 years ago on this day, in the bloody quagmire of Passchendaele. Of those 100,000, some 18,000 would not return. 5000 remain here in Belgium. Monuments to New Zealand on the battlefields of the Western Front recognise this journey and this loss: “From the Uttermost Ends of the Earth”.

Today New Zealanders voyage again from “The Uttermost Ends of the Earth” to remember those who fought and died in WWI and, in particular, in the battle of Passchendaele. We come from far away to gather with friends from Belgium, from across Europe and from other corners of the globe to remember the suffering of all those affected by war, to remember those who did not return home and to reaffirm our commitment to lasting peace, security and friendship.


ENDS


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