The service and sacrifice of both male and female military personnel is now being recognised and acknowledged at commemorative events, due to a recent change to the Māori version of the ode of remembrance.
The Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association (RNZRSA) has officially approved a change to the first line of the Ode of Remembrance in Māori, from “E kore rātou e koroheketia”, to “E kore rātou e kaumātuatia”.
Translated into English this line reads “They shall grow not old”, however the definition of the word ‘Koroheketia’, is ‘grow to be an old man’, with the word ‘Koro’, being male specific.
By replacing this with 'Kaumātuatia' allows female service personnel to be recognised and acknowledged in the same way as male personnel.
Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Tim Keating said the New Zealand Defence Force sought the revision to ensure that the service of all those who have served New Zealand, and in some cases lost their lives for our country, is fully recognised, whether they be male or female.
He adds "Women have served, and in some cases made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, in major wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations New Zealand has been involved in since World War One,”
“Today women continue to serve on major operations, and as of January 2000, women have been able to serve on the same basis as men with respect to combat roles.
The contribution female personnel have made, and continue to make, in the NZ Defence Force is equally as valuable as that of their male counterparts, and this change to the Ode of Remembrance allows us to acknowledge and remember their service and sacrifice.”
Approval was given for the revision in June this year, and the revised ode was first used officially at the commemoration to mark the 62nd anniversary of the Korean War Armistice at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park on 25 June 2015.