London celebrations

‘Big roar’ in London as NZDF impress during Jubilee celebrations

A New Zealand Defense Force (NZDF) contingent and their taua, or warrior band, wowed crowds as they took part in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in London.

The group of 40 were among 2,000 military personnel who took part in a 2-mile march along The Birdcage and The Mall near Buckingham Palace on Sunday.

It was led by six Maori warriors who, carrying traditional weapons and acting as kiore, or scout runners, searched the left and right flanks of the main body.

It proved a hit with the London crowd, who had just witnessed the finest ceremony in the British Armed Forces.

One Taua member, Navy Petty Officer Te Teira Maxwell, of Te Arawa, said the crowd was relatively quiet until they saw the NZDF walkers with the kiore leaving the rest of the contingent.

“Then a great roar arose. It was a great experience,” he said.

“I am quite proud to be involved in such a celebration and to represent the NZDF and the wider Rotorua and iwi Māori community,” he said.

Royal New Zealand Air Force Corporal Kumeroa Rimene, of Rangitane and Ngati Kahungunu, was a member of the matataua, or warrior party, repeating a similar role he played during the Le Quesnoy commemorations in 2018.

“We’re showcasing our unique culture to the world and showing that there’s another side to the military.”

The taua was followed by the flag bearer, Army Second Lieutenant Elese Russell, who had the best view of the reaction.

“It was unreal. When the warriors parted, the crowd went crazy. It was a very special moment.

NZDF wows London crowds at Queen's Jubilee celebrations.

“The energy of the crowd was incredible. I felt New Zealand really stood out and when the Warriors took the lead it was very special.

The contingent commander, Navy Commander Kerry Tutty, said it was a fantastic moment for the contingent as it represented the NZDF and New Zealand celebrating 70 years of Her Majesty’s reign.

“As we walked through the mall, the first group of warriors stopped and the cheers went up. I can imagine how fantastic it looked for the UK and the world.

“Another special moment was about two-thirds down the mall and we heard ‘three cheers for the Commonwealth, hip hip hooray’. It was so amazing.

New Zealand military representatives have attended royal jubilees since 1897, when a contingent was sent to Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.