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New Zealand firefighters perform haka in powerful tribute to 9/11 first responders

jimfeng/iStock(AUCKLAND, New Zealand) — Firefighters in New Zealand paid tribute to the first responders who lost their lives in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

In remembrance of those first responders as well as those who have died in the line of duty in New Zealand, firefighters performed a traditional haka dance under the Sky Tower in Auckland Wednesday.

The ceremonial custom is an ancient war dance of the Maori people.

“More than any aspect of Maori culture, this complex dance is an expression of the passion, vigour and identity of the race…a custom of high social importance in the welcoming and entertainment of visitors,” according to the website for the All Blacks, New Zealand’s national rugby team, known for performing the dance before their matches.

After their performance, more than 200 firefighters climbed the stairs of the 1,076-foot-high Sky Tower in memory of those lost, according to the fire department’s Facebook post.

Three New York Fire Department chiefs — John Buckheit, Howard Hill and David Morkal — also attended the event, according to New Zealand’s One News.

The performance was one of many tributes taking place in the U.S. and around the world to commemorate the 18th anniversary of the terror attacks.

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