The VC theft

December 3rd, 2007 at 7:48 am by David Farrar

Words almost fail me.  The theft of nine VCs including the almost unique medal and bar awarded to Charles Upham is a despicable crime.

If they catch the thieves, I say put them into the safe keeping of the SAS :-)

I just hope the medals are not already overseas,

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46 Responses to “The VC theft”

  1. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Really David, do you think modern kiwi society gives flying one about the sacrifices of the older generation?
    Just look around you, and listen to some of the attitudes we have to endure.

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  2. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    I’m sure you’re being sarcastic Lee, the thieft makes peoples blood boil, they are New Zealands medals, our medals.

    I didn’t hear about the thieft till I got home, I was on a horse trek – at Waiouru.

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  3. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    I would have thought that there were cameras at the museum and even more likely that the medals were models (fakes, copies or whatever you call it). In some UK displays the VC’s are copies for this very reason.

    However every cloud has silver lining. Its one way the Upham sisters can get money for the medals since they were not allowed to sell them on the world market (that is assuming they were insured……..)

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  4. Craig Ranapia (1,915 comments) says:

    Yes, Lee, I do think ‘modern Kiwi society’ does care. Otherwise, its pretty hard to explain why the ANZAC Day dawn parade I attended this year wasn’t a sea of walking frames and sparse grey hair.

    But Andrew, I know where you’re coming from and totally respect that, those medals are NOT “our medals”. The Victoria Cross is awarded for individual courage, not to a country or an individual force.

    AFAIK, they were in Waiouru because of the generosity of the recipients or their heirs. I feel damn sorry for the staff and management of the War Memorial Museum (which over the years, has gotten a damn sight more support from the forces and the veteran community than successive governments) who must feel they’ve really let down the people who trusted them to keep their precious taonga safe.

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  5. Yvette (2,781 comments) says:

    I’ll make the obvious comment: it is of course ironic that these medals are stolen in the same week as the EFB returns to Parliament to erode the democratic rights these New Zealanders fought for – and watch: the medals will receive much more hysterical media coverage while the EFB will pass pretty well unnoticed by the general public, indicating indeed that “Lest we forget” is rather forgotten, which most unfortunately will relegate the medals to the real importance in which they are held – as much a display and PR occasion as Helen Clark’s Paschendale observations.

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  6. Seamonkey Madness (328 comments) says:

    =(

    Let’s hope they are recovered and those who stole them get the justice they deserve.

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  7. Adam Smith (890 comments) says:

    Barry said

    However every cloud has silver lining. Its one way the Upham sisters can get money for the medals since they were not allowed to sell them on the world market (that is assuming they were insured……..)

    No they cannot. The medals belong to the Imperial War Museum in the UK. This museum bought them from the Upham familay and then lent them for 999 years to NZ. It took a British museum to protect the taonga the government is now all bothered about. This Govt would not find the $. The Brits did.

    The Upham medals are unique as the only VC and Bar awarded to a combat soldier, the other 2 instances were to medical staff.

    Lest we forget.

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  8. Tauhei Notts (1,692 comments) says:

    The security guard took twenty minutes to get there after the alarm went off. It always took me less than six minutes to get from my home to the Club where I was President for three years; the alarm went to my home, the manager’s home and another committee man. 20 minutes = too slow.

    Newstalk ZB said the thieves may have been caught on closed circuit television; this at 8 a.m. this morning; 30 hours after the robbery. How come it takes more than 30 hours to look at CCTV coverage of a 2 a.m. event. My bullshit detectors are now on alert.

    Waiouru is rather isolated. There are roads to Turangi, Taihape and Ohakune. Only three roads. How many of them were blocked? And don’t tell me there were no police available. The last time I went through Waiouru there were three cop cars between the town and the Desert Road summit.

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  9. The Double Standard (69 comments) says:

    Listening to RNZ, someone mentioned that they may have been taken for political goals. I wonder what all the “activists” were up to over the weekend?

    “The painting by Colin McCahon, with a reported value of $2 million, was stolen from a Department of Conservation visitor center at Lake Waikaremoana.

    When two activists were charged with theft, Iti helped arts patron Jenny Gibbs negotiate for the return of the mural.”

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  10. Mr Nobody NZ (390 comments) says:

    Tauhei Notts Says:
    Newstalk ZB said the thieves may have been caught on closed circuit television; this at 8 a.m. this morning; 30 hours after the robbery. How come it takes more than 30 hours to look at CCTV coverage of a 2 a.m. event.

    The way I took the report wasn’t that they were looking at the CCTV footage just at the time the crime took place but also historical tapes for people showing a bit more than the usual interest in these items. If I am wrong however I completely agree with you Tauhei 30 hours is far too long to review tape of a 2 minute incident when you know exactly what time it occurred.

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  11. ben (2,377 comments) says:

    What the hell is the NZ Army doing with these national treasures if it can’t protect them?

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  12. Inventory2 (10,299 comments) says:

    I wonder if a certain flag-burner from Wellington, currently on bail as one of the Tuhoe 17, will get a visit from the boys in blue any day soon.

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  13. kehua (225 comments) says:

    The two dollar`painting` was nicked by Iti`s enemy a 2bit thief named TeKaha[ He`s the one Tame smacked on the bum with his taiaha ]. The wee tatooed kunekune would not have fitted through the window at Waiouru.

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  14. Adam Smith (890 comments) says:

    The RNZ 10 am bullettin had an item, taken from Nine to Noon, I think, in which the curator of a major UK collection suggested these medals were taken for ransom.

    One can speculate as to whether such ransom will be for cash, from the insurers, or for some misguided political purpose.

    BTW way some reports say 12 medals but another says around a 100, does anyone know?

    However, it will certainly draw major media attention.

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  15. tlkpnt (22 comments) says:

    It is a despicable crime and a crime against all of New Zealand – and I agree with DPF that it is hard to find words to encapsulate it – however I do think it was a bit over the top when the police officer leading the investigation said they were treating it as a homicide enquiry – that is grandstanding just a little and is an insult to those who have been indirect victims of actual homicides.

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  16. grumpyoldhori (2,362 comments) says:

    I am sure Ken Hudson was Maori, Iti would
    steal a GC awarded to a Maori, don’t think
    so.
    No, these medals would have been stolen to
    sell to so called collectors.
    People who believe they can buy other’s
    courage.

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  17. Right of way is Way of Right (1,121 comments) says:

    If it is the act of some sort of activist, and the thought has gone through my mind, it will be a very sad day that someone has acted in such a misguided and callous manner. The backlash that would be generated from such an act would be unbelivable.

    If the location of these medals is ascertained, I recommend we send the latest VC winner to get them back, personally!

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  18. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    This theft is of course nothing less than a travesty

    which is exactly wht it is sposed to be.

    A political statement.

    Very selfish. A crime doomed to failure as a PR exercise.

    As an exercise in reality it beckons ominous times.

    The more the govt pushes its dictatorship the worse these crimes are going to become. In frequency and intensity.

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  19. grumpyoldhori (2,362 comments) says:

    tlkpnt
    You mean like that homicide when the
    Germans shot that bloke for not telling them the names of others helping Allied POWs to
    escape.
    Or the homicide by the Gestapo on a hori
    pilot who took part in the so called great escape.
    Those homicides you mean?

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  20. grumpyoldhori (2,362 comments) says:

    Right of way is Way of Right Says

    Damn you are a liberal, send the latest VC winner, no, send the bloke he carried to
    safety, he will be very understanding I am
    sure.

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  21. Adam Smith (890 comments) says:

    FROM: NZ Herald, quoting TVNZ breakfast

    The Prime Minister called the crime “appalling” and “revolting”, and urged the thieves to do the right thing.

    “The fear is there is a very reclusive collector who has had them stolen to order,” Helen Clark told One News’ Breakfast program.

    “If that’s the case, they won’t show up on the market”.

    Helen Clark advised the robbers to return the medals by “popping them in a letter box” where someone would inevitably find them.

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  22. Nick C (336 comments) says:

    It certainly remains to be seen whether this crime is for political purposes, however if it was, Miss V Morse would be my pick of the looneys. The worst fears of most will be that they have been stolen for a rich overseas collecter, if this is so then they may never be seen again.

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  23. tlkpnt (22 comments) says:

    Yes I do mean like those homicides – however I would be much more inclined to call that war.

    But calling the theft of what is in essence a material object (I accept the great sentimental value and the bravery and courage that the soldiers did on behalf of their country – for which they received the medals) a homicide is an overstatement and an insult to those families who have suffered from an actual homicide. You are comparing a theft to the Kahui killings or to another act of child abuse that ends in death

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  24. Inventory2 (10,299 comments) says:

    Nick C – my sentiments exactly. That she and her cohorts thought it was their civil right to burn the NZ flag during an ANZAC service indicates the mindset of the said “peace activist”. She’s luckly the police got her before some of the old “diggers”!

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  25. Adam Smith (890 comments) says:

    Per Nick C, I agree the worst fears of most will be that they were stolen for a collector.

    I suggest that the worst possible scenario for anyone is that they were stolen by political activists or for political activists. This would be the nightmare scenario for the authorities, especially if they melted them down as a protest.

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  26. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    “Helen Clark advised the robbers to return the medals by “popping them in a letter box” where someone would inevitably find them.”

    you’ve got to be careful handing things into police.

    If they can’t get the culprit they’ll paint a picture around any one they can.

    there are so mnay cases I can cite of that.

    David Bain of course, but now we are finding Scott Watson another victim of police fascism.

    I for one would never walk into a police station with evidence.

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  27. PhilBest (5,121 comments) says:

    Agree, Nick C and Inventory 2. This vignette nicely sums up the state of NZ today. Not only have we forgotten about why we are where we are in the world today, we’re breeding the kind of scum that do this sort of thing.

    A parallel is that where we once had a Maori Battalion that stood for God, King, and Country, and covered itself with medals and glory in the process, now we’ve got Tuhoe Terrorists. The liberal left is well and truly on course with its goal of the destruction of decent society.

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  28. Adam Smith (890 comments) says:

    Hinemanu says” I for one would never walk into a police station with evidence”.

    I do not think we should worry, because if you go to Waitakere and confess to police that you need to be locked up you are sent away to set fire to houses and beat up old ladies, because you are not on the computer. Talk about Keystone Kops.

    This is the worry, our police seem not to know how to do anything.

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  29. Right of way is Way of Right (1,121 comments) says:

    Umm, Grumpyoldhori, if you are going to quote me, then QUOTE ME!

    Besides, Having met both Cpl Apiata AND the man he carried to safety, I can assure you they would like nothing better than permission to retrive those medals.

    And if these medals have been “liberated” for political purposes, all I can say is that as far as I know, Mana is earned, not stolen!

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  30. bwakile (757 comments) says:

    Never thought I would see this happen in NZ.

    Then again I never thought I’d see an EFB either.

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  31. grumpyoldhori (2,362 comments) says:

    Right of way is Way of Right
    Tsk,tsk, you are
    being a trifle sensitive, I was agreeing with
    your approach to the
    wrong doers.

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  32. paua pattie (5 comments) says:

    I’d hazard a guess that the young men who WON the medals, laying their lives on the line in the most horrific wars were about the same age as the slimeball thieving mongrel scum who skulked into museum and STOLE the medals.
    Gee this Country has really come a long way in the past 60 or so years.

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  33. Right of way is Way of Right (1,121 comments) says:

    Got ya, glad to see we are eye to eye on this one Grumpy!

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  34. grumpyoldhori (2,362 comments) says:

    PhilBest
    The Maori Battalion , that battalion
    were one of it’s members came home wounded, and after he recovered he was told that a dairy farm off the ballot was not
    for the likes of him.
    Is that the Battalion you speak of?
    What were the Maori Battalion fighting for
    again?

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  35. david (2,556 comments) says:

    Always open to conspiracy theories!

    What shit was happening when the F&M scare on Waiheke drove it off the front page?
    The EFB is going through this week whether we like it or not. How convenient!
    There have been a few other “distractions” at convenient moments over the last 9 years but I am forgetting the details in my dotage.
    Would the gummint pay a couple of mill to get the medals back?
    Is there an election next year?
    Which party outspent everyone last election?
    Which party stretched its fundraising capabilities ti pay back $800,000?

    Whew!

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  36. ben (2,377 comments) says:

    The government must be LOVING this story. The EFB will be passed this week and hardly anybody is going to notice.

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  37. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Yvette – in my own twisted way this is what I was alluding to…

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  38. Inventory2 (10,299 comments) says:

    I reckon the Exclusive Brethren will get the blame – rationale – they stole the medals to hock them off to raise money so that they and John Key could rort the next election – what odds are we offering on which Minister will be the first to make the connection? I’d go 20/1 on Chris Carter!

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  39. dad4justice (8,137 comments) says:

    Once caught, I would like to pubically hang these disrespectful bastards !!!!!

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  40. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    “The government must be LOVING this story. The EFB will be passed this week and hardly anybody is going to notice.”

    Interesting correlation as far as conspiracy theories go

    Conspiracy is so not a dirty word

    Just a conspiracy to negate conspiracies in high places.

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  41. dad4justice (8,137 comments) says:

    Take the peoples mind off the real issues , typical socialist trick ?

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  42. grumpyoldhori (2,362 comments) says:

    The Exclusive Brethren, hmm, could be , after
    all one did not see them volunteering to carry
    a rifle did one.
    No, they had to be manpowered to join the
    medical services.

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  43. Steve (4,547 comments) says:

    The VC Theft.
    Some commentors today find this funny and make wisecracks, very imature.
    Whether this theft is political, stolen to order for a collector, stolen to make a few bucks is irrelvant.
    It shows a lack of respect for NZ and those who gave. This is a free country and those who abuse it should be punished. Thieves of this nature are scum.
    Repugnant

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  44. PhilBest (5,121 comments) says:

    grumpyoldhori: Yes that was the battalion I speak of and I would not excuse those sorts of injustices for a moment. They are the sort of thing that woke NZ-ers up to the evils of racism. What I am saying is that NZ would be a wonderful country if we still had the spirit of the Maori Battalion as WELL as the burying of the racial prejudices of the past.

    We have had decades of white liberal intellectual sowing of grievance theory in every minority or disadvantaged group, with the result that Maori, and other groups, have been radicalised instead of brought more firmly into the common fold. What we have now is a far worse evil than existed originally. I suspect you might even agree with me.

    Regarding the EB’s serving in the medical services, at least they didn’t go into internment camps with the Nazi sympathisers and peaceniks like the folk hero James K. Baxter. That is another thing that is wrong with NZ today – the peaceniks are idolised while the Maori Battalion is forgotten.

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  45. thehawkreturns (162 comments) says:

    Probably the French.

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  46. david (2,556 comments) says:

    hawk
    nah, the french would have just blown Waiouru up from the back seat of a VW Microbus then claimed that it was a fat fire at the Fish and Chip shop.

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