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


Medals returned to all New Zealanders

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Defence

21 October 2008

Medals returned to all New Zealanders

Defence Minister Phil Goff said an immensely important part of New Zealand’s heritage was today back where it belonged – on public display.

Mr Goff was in Waiouru today to mark the return of the 96 medals, including nine VCs and two George Crosses, stolen from the Army Memorial Museum on 2 December last year.

“Today is a significant day for all New Zealanders. The medals being returned are part of this nation’s taonga. Their loss would have been an incalculable cost to our nation’s heritage,” Phil Goff said.

“While keeping our medals safe, we want all New Zealanders to be able to view them as a proud part of this country’s history.

“These medals, and the stories behind them, are a vital legacy for us which should not be lost for future generations.

“To win the VC or the George Cross, the recipient must have demonstrated most conspicuous gallantry, or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice or extreme devotion to duty.

“Yet none of the men honoured here took credit for their medals, preferring instead to accept them on behalf of the men they fought alongside. This selflessness was matched by their wives, children and grandchildren who have sought nothing in return for making their family’s medals publicly available.

“Earlier this year, the same selflessness was demonstrated by Corporal Willie Apiata VC who donated his award for outstanding courage to be held by the New Zealand SAS Trust on behalf of the nation.

“Security for the medals has been significantly improved, here and at our other military museums,” Phil Goff said.

“The cabinets displaying the medals have been upgraded and a security shutter system has been installed in the Valour Alcove. The Museum’s doors and windows are also being strengthened, and external lighting upgraded.

“Once completed, the cost of the upgrade will be over $1.5 million, but it is an investment which is both necessary and worthwhile.”

Mr Goff paid tribute to the work of Detective Senior Sergeant Chris Bensemann and his team of up to 40 police officers and Environmental Science and Research staff who have invested over 15,000 hours in Operation Valour.

“The theft of these medals was a crime against the nation. It was important that they were returned undamaged but also that those responsible for the theft are held to account. I welcome the fact that charges have been brought against those alleged to have committed the crime.

“I also acknowledge those members of the public who helped the Police recover the medals, in particular Tom Sturgess who, along with Michael Ashcroft, provided the reward which helped insure that the medals were returned,” Mr Goff said.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Life And Times Of Peter Dunne

In the end, Mr Pragmatic calmly read the signs of impending defeat and went out on his own terms. You could use any number of clichés to describe Peter Dunne’s exit from Parliament.

The unkind might talk of sinking ships, others could be more reminded of a loaded revolver left on the desk by his Cabinet colleagues as they closed the door behind them, now that the polls in Ohariu had confirmed he was no longer of much use to National. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Campaign Launch

One of the key motifs of Ardern’s speech was her repeated use of the phrase – “Now, what?” Cleverly, that looks like being Labour’s response to National’s ‘steady as it goes’ warning against not putting the economic ‘gains’ at risk. More>>


Lyndon Hood: Social Welfare, Explained

Speaking as someone who has seen better times and nowadays mostly operates by being really annoying and humiliating to deal with, I have some fellow feeling with the current system, so I’ll take this chance to set a few things straight.. More>>


Deregistered: Independent Board Decision On Family First

The Board considers that Family First has a purpose to promote its own particular views about marriage and the traditional family that cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable... More>>


Transport Policies: Nats' New $10.5bn Roads Of National Significance

National is committing to the next generation of Roads of National Significance, National Party Transport Spokesperson Simon Bridges says. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>


Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>


Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election