Masses watch haka farewell to fallen soldiers

Last updated 14:26 28/08/2012

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The mighty haka which farewelled three soldiers killed in Afghanistan is being watched by large numbers of YouTube viewers around the world.

The New Zealand Defence Force posted the spine-tingling clip of hundreds of soldiers from the 2/1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry, performing a haka at the funeral service for their three fallen comrades.

Defence said the haka powerfully acknowledged the lives and feats of Corporal Luke Tamatea, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker and Private Richard Harris as they were brought on to the unit's parade ground at Burnham Military Camp in Christchurch on Saturday.

"It is also an emotive farewell for they will leave via the waharoa (the carved entrance way) for the very last time," Defence said.

By early afternoon today, the clip of the haka had been viewed more than 150,000 times.

Among those moved by the footage was CNN interviewer Piers Morgan, who told his 2.6 million Twitter followers about the "Astounding, and deeply moving, Haka tribute to fallen comrades".

The video was also tweeted by CNN news anchor Anderson Cooper to his nearly three million followers.  "Moving video of #NewZealand troops honoring their soldiers killed in #Afghanistan with #Maori war dance," he wrote.

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