About Willie Apiata
Willie Apiata VC, born Bill Henry Apiata (born 28 June 1972 in Mangakino, New Zealand) is a Corporal in the New Zealand Special Air Service and the first recipient of the Victoria Cross for New Zealand. He received the award on 2 July 2007 for bravery under fire during the Afghanistan conflict in 2004, after carrying a gravely wounded comrade across a battlefield, under fire, to safety.
Apiata is the only recipient of the Victoria Cross for New Zealand, as opposed to the Victoria Cross previously awarded. There are no living New Zealand recipients of the (Imperial) Victoria Cross, which was last awarded to a New Zealander for actions in the Second World War. Between 1864 and 1943, 21 members of the New Zealand forces were awarded the Victoria Cross including Captain Charles Upham, awarded a bar to the Victoria Cross in 1945 for gallantry in Egypt in 1942.
Apiata has donated all of his medals, including his VC, to New Zealand.
In 2008 he succeeded Sir Edmund Hillary as the "most trusted New Zealander"