Indigenous | Great Britain

Warrior party delights Brits

An enormous London crowd roared with excitement on Sunday as the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and its taua (warrior party) added a Kiwi spark to the military parade celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee.

The 40-strong party was among 2000 military personnel taking part in the 3.2-kilometre march along The Birdcage and The Mall near Buckingham Palace.

The NZDF contingent was led by six Māori warriors who, bearing traditional weapons and playing the role of kiore, or runner scouts, searched the left and right flanks of the main body.

It proved a hit with the London crowd, which had just witnessed the ceremonial best from the British armed forces.

Taua member, Royal New Zealand Navy Petty Officer Te Teira Maxwell (Te Arawa), said the crowd was relatively quiet until they saw the NZDF marchers, with the kiore moving out from the rest of the contingent.

“Then a big roar went up. It was an awesome experience,” he said.

Maxwell said the contingent was the largest foreign group in the march and marchers greeted the estimated million people watching and cheering the Queen,” showing their love” for the monarch.

“So it is an honour to be here, to involve our native people and our families as well.”

Maxwell said they knew the history of the Queen and especially the arrival of the Pākehā in New Zealand.

“Whether it is good or bad, we should come to events like this. We know the history. Not only should we come in traditional military uniform but also in Māori uniform to show them that Māori are still alive and well in New Zealand.”