victoria cross

Events In History


New Zealand and the Victoria Cross

New Zealand and Le Quesnoy

  • New Zealand and Le Quesnoy

    It was the New Zealand Division's final action of the First World War. On 4 November 1918, just a week before the Armistice was signed, New Zealand troops stormed the walled French town of Le Quesnoy. The 90 men killed were among the last of the 12,483 who fell on the Western Front.

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  • Page 2 - The liberation of Le Quesnoy The capture of the French town of Le Quesnoy by the New Zealand Division on 4 November 1918 has special significance in New Zealand's military

British Empire

Merchant marine

  • Merchant marine

    On 3 September New Zealand honours Merchant Navy Day. Here we explore the little-known but vital role played by the merchant marine during the First World War, when these civilian seafarers often found themselves in the front line of the war at sea.

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  • Page 3 - The Otaki's epic battleMany Home boats were lost, especially in 1917-18 when Germany stepped up its submarine warfare against Allied commerce. One action stood out, an epic battle between the New

Passchendaele: fighting for Belgium

  • Page 4 – After Passchendaele

    Military events in Belgium after the Passchendaele offensive of October 1917, including the failed attack at Polderhoek

War in Taranaki 1860-63

  • War in Taranaki 1860-63

    In March 1860 war broke out between Europeans and Māori in Taranaki following a dispute over the sale of land at Waitara. It was the beginning of a series of conflicts that would dog Taranaki for the next 21 years, claiming the lives of several hundred Maori and Europeans and leaving deep scars that persist to the present day.

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  • Page 4 - Fighting beginsThe opening shots of the Taranaki war were fired at Kīngi's new pā, Te Kohia – also known as the ‘L’ pa because of its shape – on 17 March

Western Front in 1918

  • Western Front in 1918

    In 1918, a series of major German and Allied offensives broke the stalemate of trench warfare on the Western Front, resulting in the collapse of the German Army and the end of the war within the year. New Zealand units played an important part in the Allies' final push for victory.

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  • Page 1 - 1918: Amiens, Bapaume and victory - Western Front campaignIn 1918, a series of major German and Allied offensives broke the stalemate of trench warfare on the Western Front, resulting in the collapse of the German Army and the end of the

Maori and the Second World War

  • Maori and the Second World War

    Despite some opposition, nearly 16,000 Maori enlisted for service during the Second World War. By 1945 the 28th (Maori) Battalion had became one of New Zealand's most celebrated and decorated units. But Maori contributed to the war effort in many different ways, at home and overseas.

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  • Page 3 - AchievementsThe 28th (Maori) Battalion established a formidable reputation as one of New Zealand’s finest fighting

New Zealand's 19th-century wars

  • New Zealand's 19th-century wars

    War changed the face of New Zealand in the 19th century. Tens of thousands of Māori died in the intertribal Musket Wars from the 1810s to the 1830s. There were fewer deaths during the New Zealand Wars (1840s-1870s) between Māori and the Crown, but the consequences were still dire for many tribes.

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  • Page 7 - The Victoria Cross and the NZ WarsThere were 15 recipients of the Victoria Cross and 23 of the New Zealand Cross for action during New Zealand’s 19th-century


  • Freyberg, Bernard Cyril

    A First World War hero and commander of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Bernard Freyberg proved to be a charismatic and popular military leader who would later serve a term as Governor-General

  • Upham, Charles Hazlitt

    Charles Upham is probably New Zealand's most famous soldier. His actions in Crete in 1941 and Egypt in 1942 led to his becoming one of only three people – and the only combat soldier – ever to win the Victoria Cross twice.

  • Heaphy, Charles

    The multi-faceted Charles Heaphy made quite an impact on colonial New Zealand as an artist, explorer, soldier and colonial administrator. He was the first colonial soldier to win the Victoria Cross.

  • Frickleton, Samuel

    Lance Corporal Samuel Frickleton took part in the attack on Messines, Belgium, on 7 June 1917 where his acts of extreme gallantry earned him a Victoria Cross.

  • Sanders, William Edward

    William Sanders commanded a submarine-decoy vessel in the First World War, and became the only New Zealander to win the Victoria Cross in a naval action.