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Although they fought together, died together, shared the dangers of battle together - for kiwi colonial soldiers fighting alongside their British equivalents the yardstick used to judge bravery was firmly tilted to one side. No matter how devoted or outstandingly brave, the coveted Victoria Cross by its very charter could only sit on a heart that pumped English blood through its veins. It was a time of supreme inequality. When the Victoria Cross was awarded to Captain Charles Heaphy it rocked the hallowed halls of England. He was a mere colonial . . . The shock waves also resonated across New Zealand; this jealously guarded honour surely belonged to an elite circle. A rosette, chevrons and a few pounds were suggested as suitable reward for the colonial bravest of the brave. Real recognition for the most gallant kiwi soldiers only came with Governor Sir George Bowen's instigation of New ZealandÃ?Â?Ã?Â¢Ã?Â?Ã?Â?Ã?Â?Ã?Â?s own military award. March 11 1869 was a day of great progress, a milestone in colonial military history was cemented in place . . . the New Zealand Cross; a reward for the local hero. Or so it seemed . . . But this is just the beginning of the story . . . a story of controversy, a story of heroes, so many unsung, a gripping tale of the bravest of men.ex libraries condition
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