WELLINGTON, July 21 (Xinhua) ---- A New Zealand Defense Force (NZDF) contingent is marching for the first time in Belgium's National Day military parade in Brussels on Saturday.
"A total of 43 kiwi troops from the Army, Air Force and Navy personnel are marching, joining comrades from various other countries, including Australia, Britain and the United States" to mark the First World War centenary, said an NZDF statement.
Defense contingent commander Lieutenant Colonel Dave Thorsen said the invitation to represent New Zealand during Belgium's National Day reflects "the warm and enduring connection between Belgium and New Zealand," he said.
Thorsen wore the kahu, a Maori feather cloak, during the parade. The kahu was also worn by NZDF personnel, regardless of rank, military or civilian, who were deemed to embody the values of the defense force, Thorsen said.
The contingent will also take part in commemorations to mark the centenary of New Zealand's involvement in the Battle of Bapaume in France during the First World War.
The 11-day battle was one of New Zealand's deadliest in 1918. It resulted in the deaths of 800 New Zealand soldiers and 2,500 were left wounded, according to the NZDF.