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Belgian service to honour fallen soldier

Tuesday February 05, 2019 Written by Published in Local
Queen’s Representative His Excellency Sir Tom Marsters and Lady Tuaine Marsters in 2017 in Belgium. 19013041 Queen’s Representative His Excellency Sir Tom Marsters and Lady Tuaine Marsters in 2017 in Belgium. 19013041

A remembrance service for the only Cook Island soldier to be buried in Belgium - Kiro Luke Adam will be held at the New Irish Farm Cemetery there today.

According to the Museum of New Zealand, Adam was one of the 450 Cook Islanders enlisted in World War I (WWI) and one who was killed in action.

Belgium’s Not Forgotten page said in WWI troops from the Cook Islands fought in the Maori Pioneer Battalion of the New Zealand Division.

Among them was Adam from Rarotonga who died near Graventafel on October 7, 1917, and was buried on site in a field grave.

In 1920, his remains were brought to the British New Irish Farm Cemetery near Sint-Jan.

It was last year that the In Flanders Fields Museum launched the worldwide participative project Memorial Chairs to commemorate the end of World War I in a peaceful way.

In the List of Names are  those who died in Belgium as a consequence of the WWI, whose birthplaces are in more than 120 countries and areas.

The museum invited each of these countries to send a chair to Ypres as a symbol of the loss and mourning in an endless number of families.

It is understood that a group from both ends of the globe joined efforts to send a beautiful and unique chair from the Cook Islands (a No’oanga) to Ypres for the project.

The British and Commonwealth site states that this No’oanga has a strong symbolic meaning, and has the typical floral wreath that was sent at the same time.

Organised by the museum, Freddy Declerck researched Kiro’s war experiences and Marijke Vandevijvere will elaborate on the meaning of the No’oanga during the service.

Members of Adam’s family and inhabitants of Rarotonga will contribute in a special way to this remembrance. The No’oanga will be present as well.    

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