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New Māori cultural advisor for defence

Press Release – New Zealand Defence Force

Today is the first day in a new role for Warrant Officer Jerald Twomey, the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) first Māori Cultural Advisor. This new role will continue to develop and enhance NZDF’s long standing traditions and unique cultural identity. …

New Maori Cultural Advisor For Defence

Today is the first day in a new role for Warrant Officer Jerald Twomey, the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) first Māori Cultural Advisor. This new role will continue to develop and enhance NZDF’s long standing traditions and unique cultural identity. As Māori Cultural Advisor Jerald will provide advice on cultural practices appropriate to NZDF activities, advise on the implementation of NZDF cultural policies, liaise with local iwi and hapū and develop learning opportunities within NZDF in areas of Māori language, tikanga and the Treaty of Waitangi.

Warrant Officer Twomey has served in the Army for 22 years and prior to this role was in an Equipment Management position based at Trentham.

“I anticipate there will be a lot of learning on the job and I look forward to the challenge and diversity. For long time now NZDF has recognised and used certain Māori cultural practices to good effect both in Aotearoa and on deployments, so to work in this role is a great honour.”

Jerald is of Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga descent and his family marae, located in Halcombe is Taumata-o-te-rā.
Tikanga Māori is an integral part of Defence. Each of the three Services; Te Taua Moana o Aotearoa (Navy), Ngāti Tūmatauenga (Army) and Te Tauaarangi o Aotearoa (Air Force), has developed its own New Zealand military cultural practices that include aspects of Māori ceremonies on the one hand and British and European custom on the other. Currently NZDF has 12,506 full time Service men and women and civilian staff. Of this total about 15.8% are identified as Māori.

Warrant Officer Twomey will provide advice on matters ranging from protocol, event management and kapa haka to te reo Māori. Both the Navy and Army have marae as an integral part of their cultures and there is the likelihood of an Air Force Marae in the not too distant future. The NZDF endorses tikanga Māori and it is often seen, in particular during formal ceremonial activities. Contingents deployed overseas regularly welcome their replacements with a haka pōwhiri which gives a distinctive “Kiwi” perspective to these occasions.

ENDS

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