Willie Apiata Youth Programme launches

Willie Apiata Youth Programme launches

Willie-Apiata-Youth-ProgrammeA group of 20 secondary school students were put through their paces in the inaugural Willie Apiata Youth Programme held at the NZ Defence Force Youth Development Unit in Hobsonville last week.

Westpac has joined forces with Willie to present the new programme - a day long course for students between the ages of 13 and 16 - with the goal of arming them with the courage and strength of mind to become leaders in their communities and positive role models for their peers.

SEE ALSO: Remembering a Kiwi icon

The group was tasked with a variety of physical and mental challenges to build strength, endurance, and teamwork including mud runs, archery, team problem-solving exercises and a fitness trail.

The NZDF is highly experienced in running training days of this nature and works with Willie Apiata regularly on a similar programme for young adults, giving them the life skills necessary to find strength and identity. 

Numbers were limited to 20 students to allow Willie to establish meaningful connections with all students taking part.

The Willie Apiata Youth Programme will also be held at the Burnham Military Camp, Christchurch, and Trentham Military Camp, Upper Hutt.



Willie Apiata, VC 

Willie-ApiataWillie was born in Mangakino where he was the youngest of four children and was the only boy amongst his siblings. Upon leaving school, Willie 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. When he returned back to New Zealand he became a full-time soldier and 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 in receiving the honourable Victoria Cross.

Throughout his life, Willie Apiata, VC, has set himself challenges. Not all of these challenges were achieved the first time but Willie is not a person to give up. His ability to stay focussed on a task is remarkable.

Willie is an ordinary person who performed an extraordinary feat and Westpac is extremely proud to assist to help him pass his experiences and knowledge on to young New Zealanders.

He aha te mea nui? Ko koe. What is most important? YOU

SEE ALSO: Remembering a Kiwi icon

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