New Zealand Gallantry and Bravery Awards - The Victoria Cross for New Zealand (VC)
About the Victoria Cross for New Zealand
The Victoria Cross for New Zealand was instituted in 1999 to replace the British Victoria Cross for future awards to New Zealand military personnel.
The medal and ribbon for the Victoria Cross for New Zealand is identical to the British Victoria Cross instituted in 1856.
The Victoria Cross for New Zealand is the premier New Zealand award for gallantry. It is awarded for ‘most conspicuous gallantry, or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour, self sacrifice or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy or of belligerents'. There are three other awards for gallantry in the New Zealand honours system: the New Zealand Gallantry Star, the New Zealand Gallantry Decoration, and the New Zealand Gallantry Medal.
The Victoria Cross for New Zealand is a bronze cross paty or formy (with straight edges). In the centre of the cross is the Royal Crest above a scroll inscribed with the words "For Valour". The cross is attached by the letter "V" to a straight bronze suspender bar bearing laurel leaves.
A total of 21 (British) Victoria Crosses and one Bar have been awarded to New Zealanders.
The first, and to date, only award of the Victoria Cross for New Zealand was made to Corporal Bill (Willie) Apiata, NZSAS, on 2 July 2007.
Recipients of either the British Victoria Cross or the Victoria Cross for New Zealand are entitled to use the postnominal letters V.C. after their names.
Information on the Victoria Cross Guns, the guns from which over 800 Victoria Crosses have been made since ca.1914, can be found on the website of the Royal Artillery Museum, which is located at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, South East London, United Kingdom.
For further information on the British Victoria Cross, and a list of New Zealand recipients of the British Victoria Cross, see The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Military History, edited by Ian McGibbon (published in 2000), pp.558-561. Also see G.A. Bryant's book, Where the Prize is Highest: The Stories of the New Zealanders who won the Victoria Cross (published in 1972), and the other books and articles listed in the 'A Bibliography of Useful Medals Publications' page of our website (see the 'New Zealand Medals, Honours and Awards' section).
New Zealand Post’s 2011 ANZAC stamp issue
In April 2011, New Zealand Post released a set of 22 stamps representing each New Zealander awarded the British Victoria Cross or the Victoria Cross for New Zealand. Each recipient was represented by a portrait image, apart from Corporal Apiata, 'who, while strongly supporting the VC stamp issue, declined to have his image on the stamp as he felt it inappropriate at this time.' He was represented instead by an image of the VC awarded to him for his actions in 2004.
The New Zealand Post media release can be read on the New Zealand Post website: 14 April 2011 - Stamps Honour VC Recipients. Also see Victoria Cross - The New Zealand Story on the New Zealand Post website, which has an image of the stamp set.
Page 203 of Chris Yardley's article, 'Military history of the postage stamps of New Zealand: Developing the ANZAC tradition - Part Two', in The Volunteers: The Journal of the New Zealand Military Historical Society (Inc), vol.38, no.3, March 2013, pp.197-205 also discusses this stamp issue and contains an image of the stamp set.
About the ribbon
The crimson ribbon is 38 mm in width.
There are no separate Regulations for this award. The administration instructions are included in the Royal Warrant.
Clasps and Bars
A bar can be awarded for a subsequent act of gallantry worthy of recognition by the same level of award. The bars are made of bronze, are oblong in shape, and bear laurel leaves.
Only three servicemen have ever received a second award of the British Victoria Cross. One of these was New Zealander Captain Charles Upham, New Zealand Army, whose medals were on display at the New Zealand Army Museum at Waiouru, prior to their theft on 2 December 2007. Charles Upham's medals were recovered on 15 February 2008. A biography of Charles Upham can be viewed as a pdf here. An image of Charles Upham's medal group can be found here.
Order of Wear
The position of this award in the Wearing of Medals in New Zealand Table can be viewed here.
Further information on the Victoria Cross for New Zealand is available on the New Zealand Honours Unit website.
Media Statements concerning the Victoria Cross for New Zealand
- 10 November 2008 - Willie Apiata VC - The Reluctant Hero
- 24 April 2008 - Willie Apiata gifts Victoria Cross to New Zealand
- 2 October 2007 - New Zealand's newest VC honours famous VC
- 2 July 2007 - NZSAS Gallantry in Afghanistan Recognised
- 21 September 1999 - New NZ Gallantry and Bravery Awards Approved
- Corporal Bill (Willie) Henry APIATA (M181550), 1 New Zealand Special Air Service Group - year of acts: 2004; location of acts: Afghanistan; year of award: 2007. Also see:
- - The 2 July 2007 media statement announcing this award.
- - Prime Minister Helen Clark's speech on 2 July 2007.
- - The Governor General, the Honorable Anand Satyanand's, closing address at the VC Investiture on 27 July 2007.
- - Special Honour for Corporal Apiata, VC: The Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association’s (RNZRSA) most prestigious award, the Badge in Gold - awarded on 11 November 2007.
- - NZDF media items:
NZDF media items since 2007 on New Zealand Recipients of the (British) Victoria Cross
- 30 October 2008 - New Zealand VC honoured in Belgium - Lance Corporal Leslie Andrew VC (First World War)
- 15 September 2008 - Christchurch VC honoured in Belgium - Henry James Nicholas VC (First World War)
- 14 September 2008 - New Zealand Defence Staff travel to Belgium to assist with the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate the award of the VC to Private Henry James Nicholas
- 9 June 2007 - Bravery rewarded at Messines, Belgium - Blackball miner Samuel Frickleton, VC (First World War)