LAC Waipaare Tangaere will be part of several commemorations for Anzac Day on the Western Front, including at the Menin Gate (pictured).
23 April 2017
A career in the New Zealand Defence Force has taken a young woman from the small town of Tikitiki on the banks of the Waiapu River to the battlefields of France and Belgium, and a few places in between.
Leading Aircraftman(LAC) Waipaare Tangaere has again headed overseas to honour the fallen as part of the New Zealand Defence Force contingent for Anzac Day commemorations on the Western Front.
The 21-year-old former Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Waiu o Ngati Porou student is a Component Control Planner Assistant for the Seasprite and Boeing capability of the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) at Base Auckland.
She says she joined the RNZAF because she wanted to enjoy the wide range of opportunities the Air Force offers, including travel.
The youngest of six children, LAC Tangaere is part of the Maori Cultural Group in France and Belgium for this year’s Anzac Day commemorations, and she has a family connection to the area.
Captain Pekama Kaa lies in Kandahar Farm Cemetery in Heuvelland, Belgium.
A descendant of a line of Ngati Porou warriors, Captain Kaa, of the New Zealand Maori Battalion, refused to be moved from where he was wounded on 14 August 1917 until all the other wounded men had been evacuated. As he lay seriously injured Captain Kaa was fatally hit by a shell.
This isn’t the first time LAC Tangaere has represented New Zealand at a major commemorative event.
“I was part of the MCG at the 100th Anzac Day commemorations in Gallipoli in 2015. It was an honour to be there,” she said.
LAC Tangaere joined the Maori Cultural Group in 2013, shortly after she joined the Air Force.
“I wanted to be part of the MCG because it helps me stay connected to my taha maori. And what better way to go and see some parts of the world that you only ever dreamed of going to, doing something that you love.”
New Zealand’s international First World War commemorations this year will focus on the Western Front where New Zealand made its most significant contribution to the First World War, and also where New Zealand suffered the greatest loss of life.
“I feel very privileged to be chosen to honour the service and sacrifice of all New Zealanders who have served in military conflicts at this year’s commemorations on the Western Front.”
Information about the Anzac Day-related ceremonies and First World War commemorations can be found at WW100.govt.nz/international-commemorations.