The bodies of three New Zealand soldiers from The Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, 2nd Batallion killed in Afghanistan were welcomed home with a giant haka in Christchurch on 23 August 2012.
The tribute to Corporal Luke Tamatea, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker and Private Richard Harris was performed by approximately 200 military personnel.
The three soldiers died earlier this month when their vehicle was hit by a huge roadside bomb in north-east Bamyan Province.
New Zealand has suffered a total of 10 combat deaths in Afghanistan.
The Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, whose Colonel in Chief is HM The Queen of New Zealand, is descended from the old New Zealand Regiment and all previous Territorial Infantry Regiments of the New Zealand Army.
Accordingly, the Regiment is permitted to display a selection of 105 battle honours awarded to ten separate regiments from the Boer War to Vietnam.
Personnel from the Regiment are currently deployed in Bamyan Province in Afghanistan, East Timor/Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands.
The Regiment enjoys close links with the Royal Australian Regiment, The Royal Highland Fusiliers, The Rifles (in particular the Durham Light Infantry)and the Brigade of Gurkhas all from the UK, the 7th Battalion, Royal Malay Regiment and Singapore’s 1st Commando Battalion.
The Haka is used throughout New Zealand by many, not only Māori, to demonstrate their collective thoughts,states the tV channel NZ Defence Force which published this on 25 August, 2012. 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.
Haka –sometimes termed a posture dance could also be described as a chant with actions. There are various forms of haka; some with weapons some without, some have set actions others may be 'free style.' Haka is used by Māori (indigenous people of New Zealand) for a myriad of reasons; to challenge or express defiance or contempt, to demonstrate approval or appreciation, to encourage or to discourage, to acknowledge feats and achievements, to welcome, to farewell, as an expression of pride, happiness or sorrow. There is almost no inappropriate occasion for haka; it is an outward display of inner thoughts and emotions. Within the context of an occasion it is abundantly clear which emotion is being expressed.