21 Dec 2010

NZ soldier killed in Afghanistan farewelled

9:42 pm on 21 December 2010

A New Zealand-born soldier killed in Afghanistan was farewelled on Tuesday afternoon in a funeral fusing Maori tradition with military rigour.

Private Jack Howard died earlier this month in service with the Parachute Regiment of the British Army, in what may have been misdirected fire from an American aircraft.

His casket, draped in a Union Jack and a Maori cloak, was carried into a packed Wellington Cathedral by six of his fellow paratroopers.

The 23-year-old was remembered at the service as a through-and-through military man, a keen actor and a loving son and brother.

His father, Roger Howard, told mourners that his son was a spirited and independent man.

Regimental colonel John Hanford was unable to attend, but had his sympathies conveyed by a Royal Air Force group captain, Graham Bond, who spoke of Pte Howard as a rising star who was utterly dependable.