Billingham Branch of the Royal British Legion was treated to a special performance by the Kapa Haka group “Te Rerenga o Te Rā” following their successful inclusion in the Billingham Folklore Festival. Translated from Maori to “Flight Across the Heavens” the group are sponsored by the New Zealand equivalent of the Legion. ey gave a beautiful and heart warming performance which included traditional Maori songs and their take on some English war time classics.
Their performance ended with their own traditional salute to e Legion which was reciprocated by the branch with the “Oath of Remembrance” by branch chairman Alan Lewis and the lowering of the branch standard by standard bearer John David Stirling. A short narrative about the part played by New Zealand forces during the wars was read by Tony Curnow, and the evening was drawn to a close by a presentation of a certi cate to the group by branch President Kevin Pitt, which included the Maori tradition of rubbing noses. Every member of the group was presented with a poppy pin badge and a passchendaele lapel badge as a memento of their visit. Prior to leaving for their accommodation the group took time to hold a short performance at each monument in the “Garden of Remembrance” (Cenotaph) on Station Road. We hope to produce a DVD of the whole performance and sell it to raise funds for the up coming “Poppy Appeal”.