Willie Apiata

Face of the day

Pippa Doyle

Pippa Doyle

One of New Zealand’s most secretive military organisations has opened its high-security doors for a 93-year-old woman.

Tonight, it was a meeting of war heroes when New Zealand’s Victoria Cross winner Willie Apiata kissed 93-year-old Pippa Doyle, one of the great if unknown secret agents of World War II.

Apiata was in the audience as Pippa ? otherwise known as Phyllis Latour Doyle ? received France’s highest decoration: the Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur, the Legion of Honour (knight class).

 DAVID WHITE/Fairfax NZ TOP HONOUR: The Legion of Honour medal which was presented to Pippa Doyle.

TOP HONOUR: The Legion of Honour medal which was presented to Pippa Doyle.

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Oh dear, look who is at the bottom of the list

Readers Digest has released their “Most Trusted” list of Kiwis…and predictably Willie Apiata is at the top of the list.

Politicians are as trustworthy as sex workers and Willie Apiata, VC, is – again – the most trusted of all New Zealanders, according to an annual survey on the country’s most trusted people and professions.

The 10th annual New Zealand Reader’s Digest Trust Survey revealed a skew towards sports stars and emergency service workers as those whom Kiwis put the most faith in.

Mr Apiata took out the top spot as the most trusted of 100 well-known Kiwis, followed by Northland doctor and champion of Maori health care Lance O’Sullivan and All Blacks captain Richie McCaw.

But look who is at the bottom of the list:

99. Kim Dotcom, internet entrepreneur
100. Hone Harawira, Mana Party leader

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Despicable, Ctd

The Herald on Sunday has pretty much cut/pasted my post from yesterday about?Barbara Sumner-Burstyn.

A filmmaker who posted inflammatory comments online about a woman soldier killed in Afghanistan has gone into hiding following a barrage of death threats to her and her family.

Barbara Sumner-Burstyn’s remarks on Facebook, accusing Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker of “killing innocent people”, attracted a vitriolic attack from some army colleagues.

“Oh, so fallen soldier Jacinda Baker liked boxing and baking – did they forget she also liked invading countries we are not at war with, killing innocent people and had no moral compass” Burstyn wrote on her Facebook page.

“She 100 per cent does not deserve our respect for her flawed choices. We are not at war. We are helping America invade another country for their oil. No more than that.

“Go to war expect to be killed. You can’t have it both ways – oh nice little career with the military and shock horror when you get blown up.”

The post went viral around the internet and last night 19,000 people had joined a Facebook group called “Sumner Burstyn give back your NZ Passport!”.

Thousands reacted angrily to Burstyn’s comments, calling them disrespectful and ill-informed about New Zealand’s role in Afghanistan.

Other comments incited violence against Burstyn.

Threats of violence aren’t cool, but neither are her stupid, ill-conceived?rantings on Facebook. It isn;t like she knows this annoys people, she has done it previously?disrespecting?Cpl. Doug Grant and also New Zealand’s most trusted man Cpl. Willie Apiata, VC.

Barbara Sumner-Burstyn doesn’t know if she will ever return to New Zealand now, perhaps that is a good thing, as we don;t really want her here either.

Gower cops one in the chook


Yesterday I blogged about Patrick Gower’s rude and disrespectful post trying to make political mileage out of a hero?retiring?from his 23 years service in the army.

Well Willie Apiata’s boss gives Gower a serve:


Patrick, I can assure you and the public of New Zealand that Corporal Apiata, V.C. will get the send-off from the Defence Force that HE wants.

I think if the New Zealand public has learnt anything about Willie since he rose to prominence for his remarkable act of gallantry, it is that Willie is an incredibly humble man who has never sought the spotlight for himself. Where he has made public appearances and supported causes, these have been where he sensed he could make a difference to his community and New Zealand.

So too it is in the way he wishes to leave the Defence Force. As Defence Force leaders we will first and foremost be guided by Willie?s own wishes to make the transition to his new role beyond the Defence Force in his own quiet and deliberate way. As Chief of Defence Force, I believe he has earned that right.

As to the ?rushed? way you claim the NZ Defence Force handled this issue, our statement was of course in response to imminent news media stories we became aware of. It was not the Defence Force that sought to initiate a story but your own brethren. Again, our statement was in accordance with Willie?s wishes.

With regard to the other innuendo and gossip you speculate about in your ?opinion piece?, all I can do is refer you again to the statement that Corporal Apiata, V.C. made through the Defence Force yesterday afternoon. As regularly voted one of New Zealand?s ?most trusted New Zealanders?, I hope Patrick that you will take Willie?s word on this matter – if not my own – that he left his fulltime military role under good terms, and will continue his long association with the Defence Force as a Reserve Force member:

?This has been a decision that I have not taken lightly and it is one that has taken me many months to make. I am leaving to pursue my goals and to grow with my family. I am very proud of my service with the NZDF and I am very grateful for all of the support I have received from the NZSAS and the NZDF.?

Poor Form Patrick

? Patrick Gower’s Blog

Patrick Gower has written a pretty wrong headed blog about the departure of Willie Apiata from the SAS. I am not going to puff his ego by pasting any text from it.

He has tried to link his departure to poor discipline, poor morale and poor pay for our troops.

THis is an outrageous smear on a hard working effective trooper and the other in the NZ Army and wider Defence Forces.

Willie Apiata has completed several tours of Afghanistan, has served in the Army for more than 20 years.?Not only has he served for 23 years but he is going to continue to serve in a part time role as a Territorial soldier.

Given the left wing and media constantly?harped?on about leaving Afghanistan is it any wonder that when the one place where soldiers can actually do their jobs properly tis now closed off to them that they think about life changes.

Willie Apiata, being a boy from East Cape and a hardened frontline soldier is hardly going to be comfortable driving a desk. It is entirely unsurprising that he wants to retire after 23 years now that life has settled down a bit.

Someone with his prodigious skill-set could easily have walked into plenty of high paying jobs around the world involving private security. He didn’t do that…instead he chose to do something for at-risk youth, a return, if you like, to the life he had before?Reuben?Parkinson?rescued?him. I had the privilege of meeting?Reuben?Parkinson many years ago, and I would like to think it is his influence that has guided Willie Apiata to help at-risk?youth

He clearly does not want to cut his ties completely with the Army so will continue serving with?the Territorials and contributing?his invaluable experience as a veteran of 23 years. with the addition that he will help the High Wire Charitable Trust.

Willie Apiata should he hailed and saluted not used by tainted media hacks to push a political agenda.

Patrick Gower?should?be ashamed of himself, he isn’t fit to actually write Willie Apiata’s name let alone comment on his decision to leave.

Face of the Day

? Stuff.co.nz

Willie Apiata had left the Army to invest his considerable skills with at-risk youth:

New Zealand’s only living recipient of the Victoria Cross, Corporal Willie Apiata, is leaving the military.

Prime Minister John Key has revealed Apiata is leaving the SAS to work for the youth charity High Wire Trust.

The Trust, which has an outdoor pursuits centre in Papakura, helps at-risk young people.

“I’m sure he’ll do a great job out there,” Key said.

“He’ll be a great role model for them.”

Apiata had advised the Defence Force several months ago that he intended to leave the regular force but he would remain a member of the reserves.

Is Jenni McManus up Roger's Anus?

We thought that Jenni was keeping Mr Foreman happy while Diane prepares for life inside the beltway with Don Juan.

But could she be moving in on Catherine Judd?

Today’s The Independent has not one but three articles by Jenni McManus suggesting that Roger Kerr is going to be one of the key influencers of the new Government.

Sorry Jenni, the world has changed. Maybe you should come down to Wellington sometime and find out what is really going on.

Yes, Roger will be listened to more than he was under Labour (not at all) but he will not be nearly as influential as you are suggesting….