Sunday March 25, 2018   Last updated 14:12PM

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New Zealand's darkest day remembered
Warrant Officer Te Kani Te Wiata is leading the Māori Cultural Group performing at New Zealand commemorations for the Battle of Passchendaele centenary in Belgium

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There will be a strong Maori presence at today’s commemorations in Belgium of the centenary of New Zealand’s most costly battle.

Some 842 New Zealanders were killed and thousands wounded in an ultimately futile attack against strong German positions at Passchendaele.

A special event at what is Wednesday evening Belgian time has just finished in Ypres (Ieper), starting with the waka taua Te Hono ki Aotearoa being paddled up the waterway to Menin Gate, where the Last Post service was conducted with New Zealand elements including a performance by Dave Dobbyn.

The New Zealand National Commemoration will be held at Tyne Cot cemetery, the largest Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery in the world, followed by the opening of a Centennial Memorial & Garden at the Memorial Museum Passchendaele.

The Maori Cultural Group performing at the commemorations is led by Royal New Zealand Navy Warrant Officer Te Kani Te Wiata, great-grandfather, Rifleman William Robert Friar, was one of the New Zealand casualties on October 12, 1917.

A Sunset Ceremony will be held at Buttes New British Cemetery, which also includes some New Zealand graves.

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