October 13, 2017
Emotions run high at Passchendaele services
It’s been an emotionally draining day around Yrpes in Belgium where New Zealand has been remembering its contribution in blood and sorrow in the Battle of Passchendaele 100 years ago.
Tamaki Makarau MP Peeni Henare, who is part of the parliamentary delegations, says there were five events today including unveiling of a new Aotearoa memorial garden and a New Zealand-led evening service.
He says the strong Maori involvement, with waiata, himene, and te reo Maori being used extensively by both Maori and Pakeha speakers, added a special dimension to the event.
Many New Zealanders have made the trip to remember ancestors who fought or just to be part of the event.
"We all go to ANZAC Day and we attend commemorations and services at our our own urupa at home but to come to something like this so far away from home and to see the love and care that, not just the locals but of course the dignitaries bring to occasions like this, is something truly amazing," says Peeni Henare.
The commemoration marked what is considered New Zealand’s darkest day, with 843 dead and over 1700 wounded in just the first few hours of October 12th 1917.
It followed last month’s Australian memorial at Polygon Wood, with the Canadians due to hold a ceremony on November 10, the day their troops captured the ruins of Passchendaele village and ended the battle.
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