Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

NZSAS Gallantry in Afghanistan recognised


Click to enlarge
Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister
Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Defence


2 July 2007
Media statement

NZSAS Gallantry in Afghanistan recognised

Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that she was delighted that the Queen has approved the award of the Victoria Cross to a member of the New Zealand Special Air Service (NZSAS) for his actions in saving the life of a comrade under heavy fire from opposing forces.

Three other gallantry decorations are also being awarded to members of the NZSAS. All four decorations have been awarded for actions in Afghanistan in 2004.

"The Victoria Cross for New Zealand is the supreme military award for valour. This is the first Victoria Cross for New Zealand to be awarded since it was instituted in 1999. This decoration continues the tradition of the Victoria Cross previously awarded under a British Royal Warrant to members of the New Zealand military since 1860, the last of which was awarded in 1946," Helen Clark said.

"The Victoria Cross for New Zealand resembles the British Victoria Cross in appearance and manufacture and is equally hard to win.

"Corporal Bill (Willy) Apiata of the NZSAS has been awarded the Victoria Cross for New Zealand for his actions in saving the life of a comrade under heavy fire from opposing forces.

"Briefly, Corporal Apiata carried a severely wounded fellow soldier across open ground while coming under intense attack. He did this despite the extreme danger to himself.

"This brave action saved his comrade's life. Further details of his actions are available in the citation which is in the media statement from the Governor-General.

"Corporal Apiata was born in the Waikato in 1972. He began his army career in 1989 when he joined the Hauraki Regiment of the New Zealand Army as a territorial (part-time) soldier.

"In 2000 he served as a member of the 3rd Battalion Group in East Timor as part of the United Nation's operations there. On his return in April 2001, he became a full time soldier, transferring to the regular force of the New Zealand Army. In November 2001 he passed the gruelling NZSAS selection course and joined the unit the following year.

"Corporal Apiata’s VC is the 14th awarded since the end of World War Two and the first to a serving member of the SAS anywhere in the Commonwealth.

"Corporal Apiata becomes one of only 13 living recipients of the VC. Private Johnson Beharry, a member of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment in the British Army, received the VC for gallantry in Iraq in 2004 and is the only other VC recipient still serving in the military.

"Corporal Apiata will be invested with the Victoria Cross for New Zealand by the Governor-General, the Hon Anand Satyanand, at a special ceremony to be held at Government House, Wellington later this month.

"The New Zealand Gallantry Decoration has been awarded to two other members of 1 NZSAS Group, identified only as Captain C and Corporal B. Their awards are for 'an exceptional act of gallantry and leadership under fire' and 'displaying outstanding courage and leadership' respectively.

"The New Zealand Gallantry Medal has been awarded to a member of the unit identified only as Corporal R for 'gallantry and the application of firm and timely leadership'.

"All awards announced today are for gallantry in action in Afghanistan in 2004 and are testimony to the dedication, skill and professionalism of the NZSAS, " Helen Clark said.

Defence Minister Phil Goff said that New Zealanders can be proud of the extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of their duties by members of the NZSAS.

"The VC and the Gallantry Awards bestowed on Corporal Apiata and his three fellow soldiers reflect both the courage and the character of the individuals concerned but also the ethos and the high standards and training of the unit itself.

"The VC honours a man who put his own life at risk to save the life of a comrade. All of the honours reflect exceptional courage and leadership, and the commitment members of the NZSAS have to each other and to the tasks they are sent to do on behalf of New Zealand.

"They are modest about their achievements but they have contributed to an already proud tradition of military service by the NZSAS and a reputation for being ordinary people doing extraordinary jobs", Phil Goff said.

ENDS

VC Media Kit (PDF)
Governor-General's Citation (PDF)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

There Is A Field: Reimagining Biodiversity In Aotearoa

We are in a moment of existential peril, with interconnected climate and biodiversity crises converging on a global scale to drive most life on Earth to the brink of extinction. However, our current worldview and political paradigm renders us incapable of responding adequately due to its disconnected and divisive default settings.

These massive challenges can, however, be reframed as a once in a lifetime opportunity to fundamentally change how humanity relates to nature and to each other. Read on The Dig>>

The Dig: Scoop’s Engaged Journalism Platform Launches
The Scoop Ecosystem has grown bigger with the launch of The Dig - a new public interest, in-depth, Engaged Journalism platform. More>>

 

Unscoped Or Missed Damage: Resolution For Canterbury Owners Of On-Sold Homes

People with over-cap on-sold* properties in Canterbury can now apply for a Government payment so they can get on and repair their homes. More>>

ALSO:

Hamilton-Auckland: First Urban Growth Partnership Signed

New Zealand’s first urban growth partnership between the Government, local councils and mana whenua was signed at a meeting of mayors, chairs and ministers in Hampton Downs today. More>>

ALSO:

Vote On Action Next Week: Secondary Principals Walk From Negotiations

“Unfortunately we consider there is no further value in continuing negotiations at this point. The government has not been able to table an offer that will be acceptable to our members.” More>>

Patrol Car Stolen, Glocks Taken: Manhunt In Gore

The driver rammed the patrol car before fleeing on foot with Police chasing, also on foot. The man has then circled back around, stolen the patrol vehicle, which had the keys left in it, and rammed another Police car... Two Police-issued Glock pistols were stolen. More>>

ALSO:

"Shocking And Dangerous": Accused Mosque Shooter's Prison Letter Posted Online

The man accused of the Christchurch mosque attacks has sent seven letters from prison and had two others withheld, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says. Corrections has now blocked the accused gunman from sending or receiving mail... More>>

ALSO:

Standing On List Only: Paula Bennett To Run National’s Election Campaign

The National Party is pleased to announce the appointment of Paula Bennett as our Campaign Chair for the 2020 General Election, President Peter Goodfellow says. More>>

Waiver For State Care Inquiry: Historic Abuse Survivors 'Can Speak Freely'

Abuse in state care survivors can take part in the forthcoming Royal Commission proceedings without being bound by any confidentiality obligations to Crown agencies under their historic claim settlements, Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins said. More>>

ALSO:

Trail Trial: Sexual Violence Court Reduces Lead-Up Times And Trauma

An evaluation of New Zealand’s first sexual violence court has confirmed that the approach taken in the judge-led pilot considerably reduces the time that cases take to reach trial. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels