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Apiata a role model for Aotearoa youth says Jones

Shane Jones
List Member of Parliament
Media Statement

3 May 2008

Apiata a role model for Aotearoa youth says Jones

Northland Labour list MP Shane Jones says Corporal Willie Apiata VC is a role model for all youth in Aotearoa after the humble hero was welcomed back by the Ngapuhi in a moving and emotional ceremony on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds today.

“Ngapuhi and the Northland have long looked forward to him coming home to his Oromahoe Marae (near Kerikeri) for obvious reasons. He is a modern-day hero, he replaces the great Kauri Sir Edmund Hillary and Sir Peter Blake as role model not just for the Northland but for all youth in Aotearoa,” Mr Jones said.

“Willie embodies the duty and obligation which represents the best of New Zealand, our patriotism and our sense of nation; I was deeply moved to be there at Waitangi today when he was returned to the Ngapuhi by the Te Whanau a Apanui and the Ngati Porou (East Coast).”

Corporal Apiata VC told the gathering of 3,000 he was touched to be received so warmly by his Ngapuhi Whanau.

“I have come home to these lands as a warrior, a soldier and a humble man. The most important thing in life is the people, the people, the people,” he said.

Mr Jones also paid tribute to the gathering of veterans, including survivors of the 28th Maori Battalion, telling them they and Corporal Apiata VC were the role models the youth needed today.

“You have set a great example through your deeds. You are a reminder that we must teach our children well for the future,” he said.

“We must also teach our children purpose, obligation and comradeship because you Willie have shown the great value of such attributes.

“Today our youth are crying out for role models and; having a living legend, the Tane Mahuta of our time in our midst means they have something and someone for our youth to inspire them.

“Willie Apiata reminds us all that we are proud to be New Zealanders, that our sense of patriotism and nation hasn’t been lost and that we know where we belong and we know our Turangawaewae.”


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