The New Zealand Mounted Rifles Association extends its congratulations and thanks to New Zealand's newest recipient of the Victoria Cross, Corporal Willie Apiata.
He becomes the first New Zealand soldier to receive this honour since the end of WWII some sixty years ago.
New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark paid tribute to Corporal Apiata's bravery at the presentation.
His citation read: "In total disregard of his own safety, Lance Corporal Apiata stood up and lifted his comrade bodily.
"He then carried him across the 70 metres of broken, rocky and fire swept ground, fully exposed in the glare of battle to heavy enemy fire and into the face of returning fire from his main troop position.
"Having delivered his wounded companion to relative shelter with the remainder of the patrol, Lance Corporal Apiata re-armed himself and rejoined the fight in counter-attack."
Corporal Apiata is one of only 13 living recipients of the Victoria Cross.
Three other members of Apiata's squad, from the Special Air Services commando unit, were awarded lesser gallantry medals for actions in the battle in Afghanistan in 2004.
The Governor General of New Zealand Mr Satyanand said New Zealand could only express pride in his "extraordinary display of heroism".
"This award not only reflects the dedication skill and professionalism of the New Zealand SAS, but also your own special courage and character."
He Matua, He Toa, He Tuatangata.
Corporal Willie Apiata - "For Valour"
Corporal Willie Apiata hongis with Governor-General Anand Satyanand after receiving his Victoria Cross.
Photo / Mark Mitchell
New Zealand Herald photo monday july 30th 2007