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Eight-metre-tall carving made from kauri installed in Passchendaele to honour Māori WWI soldiers

The great great-granddaughter of a Māori WWI soldier has ventured to Belgium to honour her ancestor and others, taking a six-tonne carving made from a kauri tree with her to show it. 

Rangiamohia Dansey-White is in Passchendaele with the eight-metre-tall pou mahara, which was carved over a four-year period by master carvers of the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute at Te Puia in Rotorua.

The Rotorua-based family of Captain Harry Delamere Dansey are paying tribute to the military cross winner in Passchendaele for Anzac Day this year, taking with them the special gift to permanently reside in the Belgian village.

"The battle here, not a lot of people made it home," Ms Dansey-White said.

"We were quite fortunate to have him come home."

Historian Dr Monty Soutar says the contribution of Māori soldiers in the first World War is often overlooked.

"It’s probably because their role was as a pioneering unit, and that meant you did all the jobs like digging trenches you weren't frontline infantry, you were in the front you got killed by shells.”

The pou displays the god of war on one side and the god of peace on the other, carved in honour of soldiers like Captain Dansey.

"It’s pretty cool seeing the pou from the beginning stages to where it is now," Ms Dansey-White said.

"It’s good to see it up."

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    The large pou has the god of war on one side and god of peace on the other. Source: 1 NEWS