Further Reference Material
The following reference items are recommended for further information on New Zealand’s Special Operations Forces:
- NZSAS: The First Fifty Years by Ron Crosby1
From their first ever engagements in the jungles of Malaya in 1956, through to the Vietnam War and on to modern conflicts in East Timor and Afghanistan, this book traces the history and development of the New Zealand Special Air Service. Illustrated with maps and never-before-seen photographs, this book provides a rare and fascinating insight into the clandestine world of the NZSAS.
- Willie Apiata VC: The Reluctant Hero by Paul Little2
Lance Corporal Willie Apiata, a New Zealand Special Air Service trooper, was 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 they were 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.
- NZSAS: First Among Equals by Desert Road Television3
NZSAS: First Among Equals is an exclusive documentary series about the inner workings of New Zealand’s most famous fighting elite, the top “1 percenters” of the New Zealand Defence Force. It follows a handful of aspirant soldiers trying out for permanent selection as Special Air Service troopers. It observes them under pressure as they struggle to learn a multitude of expert skills, including parachuting, marksmanship, demolitions, infiltration, survival techniques and communications – all to the SAS benchmark. Based on three years of unprecedented access, this Inside New Zealand series includes never-before-seen footage of the successful few who’ve earned a place in New Zealand’s leading military unit.
- Reluctant Hero: Cpl. Willie Apiata, VC by Desert Road Television4
On Monday 2 July 2007 Prime Minister Helen Clark announced that NZSAS Corporal Apiata was to receive the Commonwealth’s highest military honour, the Victoria Cross. This documentary journeys with Willie as he copes with the pressure of being a recognisable public figure, a proud role model for Māori and the nation. It follows Willie from the moment that he learns he has been awarded the Victoria Cross, behind the scenes with his family, the NZSAS, the Victoria Cross investiture, his hometown marae and his attendance at the 90th anniversary commemorations of Passchendaele.
1 Ron Crosby, NZSAS: The First Fifty Years (Auckland: Viking, 2009) 2 Paul Little, Willie Apiata, VC: The Reluctant Hero (Auckland: Viking, 2008) 3 NZSAS: First Among Equals, DVD, Steven O'Meagher (New Zealand: Desert Road Television, 2007) 4 Reluctant Hero: Cpl Willie Apiata, VC, DVD, Steven O'Meagher (New Zealand: Desert Road Television, 2008)
This page was last reviewed on 6 October 2014.