Different ways to show respect

Charles Cowling



Posted by Richard Rawlinson

Haka is not just used by Māoris in New Zealand as a ceremonial to express collective thoughts. This video shows haka performed in 2012 by the comrades of three New Zealand soldiers killed on duty in Afghanistan. It seems fitting when mourning includes anger in the mix of emotions.  

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There’s something beautiful and heart-wrenching about this magnificent display of solidarity with a man who died in the same battle with your common enemy, which you survived, even for a pacifist like myself.

But whenever I see a military funeral, I can’t help wondering whether the young man’s mum, or his sister or son or grandad, get to say their personal goodbye to someone who is a father and brother and so on, and not really a soldier in uniform at all.

Jeanne Rathbone
Jeanne Rathbone

“Rage, rage against the dying of the light” .
Seeing soldiers, in uniform, performing the Haka at a funeral of their comrades killed in war you could wonder whether this anger is aimed at their foe or at war or at their government.
However, it does seem to be a natural response to the emotions of a funeral especially when those soldiers are so aware that it could have been themselves that we’re killed.


The raw power of this is overwhelming – the movement, the closeness, the voices, the rhythm, the togetherness – wow!

Kathryn Edwards
Kathryn Edwards