Title: Willie Apiata VC – The Reluctant Hero
Author: Little, Paul
Edition: 1st Edition
Publication Date: 2008
Cover: Hard Cover with Dust Jacket – 255 pages
Comments: ‘I knew we had to move. With the wagon being on fire it could only protect us for so long. There were that many RPG rounds rocking it, hitting it one after the other … sooner or later one of us was going to take a round if we stayed there.’
Lance Corporal Willie Apiata, a New Zealand Special Air Service trooper, trapped at the front of a major fire-fight with suspected Taliban insurgents on a dark and desolate Afghan hilltop. One of his mates was bleeding to death and the other was pinned down under intense enemy fire.
For Apiata there was no choice.
He fell back on the values instilled in him by his mother, the skills learnt during a tough pig-hunting life in the bush on the East Coast of New Zealand, and the knowledge won from years of training with the NZSAS.
With the lives and safety of his mates his only priority, Apiata performed an act of courage that has now become part of New Zealand history – an act that saw him become the first recipient of the Victoria Cross for New Zealand and just the 14th holder of the Commonwealth’s highest honour for bravery since the end of the Second World War.
This is the story of Willie Apiata, VC, an ordinary kiwi bloke, a very reluctant hero, just doing his job.