Willie Apiata

by Olivia from Hastings

Willie Apiata inspires me because he did a brave thing that said to me that you can do anything. He was the first New Zealander to be awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery. However, there is more than just this about him that inspires me.

War hero Willie Apiata received a Victoria Cross  (
War hero Willie Apiata received a Victoria Cross (

Willie was born in Mangakino, New Zealand and thought always that he was born on July the 15th it was only till he was much older he knew that he was actually born on 28th of June 1972. His sisters and him all shared the same birthday on the 15th of July. His parents split up and he wasn't in touch for his dad for several years. At the age of 15 he left school and at the age of 16 he left his mum and stayed with relatives in the Bay Of Plenty.

He holds the Victoria Cross and also 7 other medals. He has worked for the New Zealand Army since 1989, at the age of 17, and he is ranked a Corporal. He also has been in two wars, Afghanistan and East Timor. To be a solider in Afghanistan is a very risky job as enemy attacks can happen at any time there. While he was there in a rural area, 20 enemies came out and started shooting. One of the enemies shot and hit Willie's mate. Willie saw what had happened so he went over and put his mate on his shoulder and ran through the line of fire.

Willie Apiata after receiving his Victoria Cross  (
Willie Apiata after receiving his Victoria Cross (

Six months after he got back from the 2004 attack no one knew who Willie Apiata was. But in April 2008, he got presented with the Victoria Cross, which is the highest military medal. He is my hero because he did a fantastic life-risking thing to get the Victoria Cross. He is one of my favourite heroes because he saved a man's life by risking his very own life.

I learnt from my hero that you can do anything as long as you put your mind to it and don't give up. Through my life I would always take his words 'I've meet real heroes all my life. They are people I look up to because they have showed me something special, but they're just normal people.' The heroic qualities that my hero has are bravery, determination, valour and humility. He puts others before himself.

Page created on 7/3/2013 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 7/3/2013 12:00:00 AM

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