Willie Apiata has been a Westpac Ambassador since 2014. He was born in Mangakino as the second youngest of four children and is the only boy amongst his siblings. Upon leaving school, he enlisted in the New Zealand Army in the Territorial Force Hauraki Regiment of the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment.
Willie served as a member of New Zealand's third Battalion Group with the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor from July 2000 to April 2001. He returned back to New Zealand and later went on to join the SAS in 2002.
After becoming a Lance Corporal in 2004, Willie was stationed in Afghanistan and performed the act of bravery that led him to receiving the honourable Victoria Cross.
Willie is an inspirational leader in New Zealand, and as a Westpac Ambassador, he reaches out to New Zealanders sharing his stories of strength in the face of adversity.
Westpac also holds a youth leadership programme where Willie acts as a mentor to those aged 13 to 16 years old, as he feels strongly that this is when people make the choices that affect the rest of their lives.
Westpac is extremely proud to have Willie on board as a Westpac Ambassador, helping to inspire New Zealand’s future leaders.