Gallantry case progress

Kathy Stewart, the mother of Private David Stewart, with Chief of Army Major General John Boswell at the dedication ceremony. Photo / NZ Defence Force

From WO1 (rtd) Bob Davies, via ONWARD BAR…please note that this is massive progress but not a battle won yet…

For non-Kiwi followers, David Stewart gave his life on Mt Ruapehu in August 1990 to ensure that other soldiers in his group survived the blizzard that had trapped them on the mountain…

David Edward Whawhai Stewart NZBM

The Minister received us warmly and listened carefully to our arguments. It was clear he was aware of the issues and had familiarised himself with the facts. He let slip that he had been talking to a number of people including our late friend and champion, Sir Wira Gardiner, whose influence clearly stretches beyond the grave.

Besides the three of us it has been a real team effort that included Dr Jim Mather (ex-RNZA officer), David Samuels (ex-RNZIR officer), Brigadier (Rtd) Phil Gibbons, Hon Col 1 RNZIR, Lt Col Logan Vaughan, CO 1 RNZIR, WO1 Chad Halley, RSM 1 RNZIR, Rear Admiral David Ledson, Chief of Navy (Rtd), Sir Jerry Mataparae, GG (Rtd) and Karl du Fresne (journalist).

Whereas before I was not optimistic. I am now. But no whooping and hollering yet. We should hear by the New Year. Here was our argument in a nutshell:

On 13 August 2022, 32 years after the tragedy, David Stewart’s sacrifice was recognised when the theatrette In Wellington Lines, home of his unit, the First Battalion, the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, was named after him.

Hopefully, by New Year, or possibly in the New Year’s Honours List, David Stewart’s New Zealand Bravery award will be elevated to the New Zealand Cross.

It’s long overdue…

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