Latest Update on NZDF Medal

Questions and Answers on the the New Zealand Defence Force Medal (as at 4 August 2010)

Q. How many years of service are required to be awarded the New Zealand Defence Force Medal?

A. The Government is currently considering the appropriate length of service required for the proposed New Zealand Defence Force Medal, along with the other eligibility criteria. An announcement is expected in 2010.

Q. When can I apply for the new medal?

A. The NZDF is NOT currently accepting applications for the planned New Zealand Defence Force Medal. It is anticipated that a call for applications will happen before the end of 2010.

Q. When will I receive the new medal?

A. It will take approximately 20 to 22 weeks from when a decision is made by the Government, before any medals are available to be issued. There will need to be a tender process for the manufacturer(s), and then the medal and ribbon will still need to be manufactured. The NZDF Medals Office also expects a large number of people to apply for the medal and, even with extra staff to process the applications, this could potentially be a two to three year project.

Q. I am a uniformed currently-serving member of the NZDF. Will I need to apply for the new medal?

A.No. Medal entitlement for currently-serving military personnel will be actioned through normal NZDF Service administrative channels. As for other medals, currently-serving personnel will not be required to apply for the new medal. Data will be drawn off ATLAS and processed through normal channels.

Q. I have heard about the New Zealand Defence Force Medal and a survey about it. What is happening?

A. From 15 June to 23 July 2009 a survey was held to obtain information from current and ex-service personnel and the public about a proposed New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) Medal for non-operational service since 3 September 1945.

Q. What has happened since the survey closed?

A. The survey results were analysed and a report was given to the Government on potential eligibility criteria for the proposed medal. The Government is currently considering the report, and is expected to make an announcement in 2010.

Q. I have been told that the Minister of Defence said something about the new medal at the RNZRSA National Council on 13 October 2009. What did he say?

A. Wayne Mapp said “The Government is committed to formally recognising non-operational service. This is long overdue. Medallic recognition for those who undertook Compulsory Military Training and balloted National Service has been under consideration since the late 1990s. The Associate Minister and I are currently considering a report from the Joint Working Group proposing the best way forward for this important project.” The full speech by the Minister can be read on

Q. Where can I find more information on the New Zealand Defence Force Medal and the survey?

A. See the FAQ and Administrative Updates – NZDF Medal page of our website and the About the proposed medal webpage too.

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8 Responses to Latest Update on NZDF Medal

  1. Jim Dell says:

    Be interesting to see if they will use this medal to cover other medallic grievances such as service in Antarctica and Southeast Asia.

  2. Alistair Paterson, ONZM (non-military) Lt Cdr (Rtd) says:

    I served in the RNZN for 20 years finishing in 1974. This included time in the frigates and on the Singapore Station. It seems to me unfair that after all those year and overseas service, no medals of service recognition of any kind are available for personnel with such service when there are so many later and presently serving members of the RNZN who have their service recognised with the presentation of medals. Apparently, in the eyes of officialdom our contribution to New Zealand’s defence is and was of no value.

  3. Dave Neil says:

    What pitiful creatures we are. For goodness sake, the Aussies got it right in 2006 – a straightforward issue of a well deserved recognition, and I am prepared to wager ithat it didn’t take them 3 or 4 years of dithering, followed by this embarassing fiddling about in Parliament. 6 month or so for design and tender – why has it not been done already? Two to three YEARS to issue the bloody thing? Get real. Stand up and make a noise-this further humiliation of those who served their country is totally unnecessary, and shows the contempt with which the Govt holds their ex and service people in.

    Casper Neil NZ16230

  4. Jim Dell says:

    You’re right there Dave. NZ has totally mucked up the whole medal fiasco starting with the misnamed Operational Service Medal. It’s a pity that they didn’t follow the Aussies in getting it right from the start. The Malaysian medal (PJM) was the same. The Aussies leapt in and got it all sorted within a year. The Labour Govt procrastinated for over 3 years before finally saying “YES”.

  5. Dave Neil says:

    Hi Jim,
    Are there more people on this site than you, Alistair and me, I wonder?
    Re our “defence medal” fiasco – perhaps every ex and serving member should purchase a replica Aussie one and pin it on as a protest? At least when the NZDM is finally produced, we will be able to buy a replica within a few weeks, rather than wait for years – crikey, we could die in the meanwhile! The PJM was another one that annoyed me beyond all reason. How can the Govt of any country be so insensitive?
    Surely if another country’s armed forces help out then the recognition should be given to all personnel involved – e.g. how is my 82 (and a half) days service to their miserable cause less valuable that the next persons 90 days? In my old age I fondly hoped that all those with 90 days or more would have said give to all or stick it. Not so. However, same rules apply – I could buy one and put it on the dog’s collar.
    yours aye

  6. Dave Neil says:

    Hi Jim & Alistair
    And of course anyone else looking. Just while I’m dripping like a tap re medallic issues, can either of you tell me why there is such a discrepancy between the awarding of the Malaya GSM, Vietnam Medal, Korea Medal etc between the Army/Air Force – 1 (one) day or 1 (one) sortie and the Navy’s 28 or 30 days? Would the fact that a Navy man crossed the causeway from S’pore into the mainland for a day therefore qualify him for the medal. If not, why not?

    • Frank Rands says:

      Hi the following comments have been received from Jim Blackburn

      No I cannot give any common sense reason for this difference.
      I have personally raised this question with the “Medals Committee” in Wellington, a long time ago and did not really get a straight or
      a satisfactory or definitive answer.

      It seems to stem right back to the British/RN Regulations going back to when the Malayan War started in 1948, and even the AFO that came out in the 1950s (and was followed by a NZ Navy Order which NEARLY, but not quite copied it) regarding the Malaya War, under which the Royalist asked for the Naval GSM to be awarded after the 2 Bombardments of Malay Terrorists in support of the NZ Infantry Regiment, but was refused by the NZNB on the grounds that it did NOT qualify (because it was not known if the terrorists fired back at the Royalist even though she was about 5 miles off shore) though it DID under the RN AFO, and this disgusting decision was not overturned until about 7 years ago, nearly 50 years after the event.
      This decision very nearly caused a Mutiny in Royalist believe me, stopped only by the Mana. respect and high personal regard that the Ships Company held in Capt George Dudley Pound

      I think it is the same old story of the Navy always sucking on the hind tit and being seen off by the Army and Air force being the Dominant factors in the Defence Department…or as we used to say in the “old days” right up until the 60’s when the Army and the Air Force Comms used to close down and leave it to us in Navy Office Comms to cover for them 24/7/365 that the “Naval
      Division of the NZ Army” was the ACTIVE Service.

      Hopefully the Current Medals Committee and the Study and determination of what EXACTLY is deemed to be Operational Service and the study of Service in South East Asia will come out with a more balanced and unbiased set of decisions.

      Here is a copy of the regulations for the award of the Medals you quoted.

      Medal Regulations
      The Regulations for the following clasps to the General Service Medal 1962
      can be viewed below.

      1. Borneo (for Operational Service in Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei)
      a. awarded for 30 days, or 1 sortie, of operational service between
      24 December 1962 and 11 August 1966.
      b. Malay Peninsula (for Operational Service in the Malay Peninsula/Singapore)
      a. awarded for 30 days of operational service on land in the Malay Peninsula or Singapore between 17 August 1964 and 12 June 1965; or for 30 days afloat, while in any RNZN, Royal Navy, or Army Department vessel on
      duty in the waters surrounding the Malay Peninsula/Singapore between 17
      August 1964 and 12 June 1965; or for 30 days of sea patrol duties near the
      Malay Peninsula or Singapore between 13 June 1965 and 11 August 1966.


      Presented by the Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury to Parliament
      By Command of His Majesty July 1951


      1.. The Committee on the grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals have had
      under consideration the need for the general recognition of service by
      British Commonwealth Forces on behalf of the United Nations in respelling
      aggression in Korea, since 2nd July, 1950, with special regard to the
      exacting nature of the conditions in which duty there is being carried out.
      2.. Their recommendations have been duly submitted to The King, who has
      been advised by the Prime Minister on matters likely to give rise to
      difference of opinion. His Majesty has now graciously approved the
      recommendations set out below.

      2. Approval has been given for the institution of a Korea Medal for
      specified service in the Korea operations since 2nd July, 1950, inclusive,
      as described below. While present conditions last service will continue to
      be a qualification up to a future date to be fixed in due course.

      3. The Medal will bear on the obverse the Crowned Effigy of His Majesty, and
      will be in cupro-nickel. The design of the reverse is under consideration.
      The ribbon is in blue and yellow, the blue representing that of the United
      Nations flag.



      1.. Naval Service Afloat. The qualifying service will be twenty-eight
      days, since 2nd July, 1950, inclusive, in ships or craft engaged in
      operations off the Korea coast.
      2.. Naval Service Ashore. The qualifying period will be service of one day
      or more on duty ashore in Korea, since 2nd July, 1950, inclusive.


      5. The qualification in Army forces will be service of one day or more on
      the posted strength of a unit or formation in Korea, since 2nd July, 1950,

      New Zealand General Service Medal (Korea 1954-57) Regulations 2002
      Elizabeth R

      Pursuant to the Royal Warrant (SR 1992/101) dated 7 May 1992 (as altered by
      the Royal Warrant (SR 1997/153) dated 4 August 1997) instituting and
      creating the New Zealand General Service Medal, Her Majesty the Queen has
      been pleased to make the following regulations.

      1.. Title
      2.. Commencement
      3.. Korea 1954-57
      4.. Qualification for award
      5.. Delegation
      6.. Revocation
      1.. Title
      These regulations are the New Zealand General Service Medal (Korea
      1954-57) Regulations 2002.
      2.. Commencement
      These regulations come into force on the 28th day after the date of their
      notification in the Gazette.
      3.. Korea 1954-57

      1.. The award of the New Zealand General Service Medal in bronze with
      the Clasp “KOREA 1954-57” in bronze is approved.
      2.. The Medal and the Clasp are awarded subject to the Royal Warrant and
      to regulation 4.
      4.. Qualification for award
      A person qualifies for the award of the Medal and the Clasp who has served
      during the period beginning on 27 July 1954 and ending with 31 December 1957
      in Korea, its adjacent waters, or Japan if –
      1.. that service was as a member of the New Zealand Army (within the
      meaning of the New Zealand Army Act 1950), the Royal New Zealand Air Force
      (within the meaning of the Royal New Zealand Air Force Act 1950), or the
      Royal New Zealand Naval Forces (within the meaning of the Navy Act 1954);
      2.. that service included a period of service as part of the British
      Commonwealth Forces, attached to the United Nations Unified Command in one
      of the following:
      1.. on the posted strength of a unit or formation; or
      2.. while posted for duty in HM Ships of the Royal Navy or HMNZ Ships
      of the Royal New Zealand Navy; or
      3.. while seconded or on exchange with a Commonwealth or foreign
      defence force; and
      3.. one of the following applies:
      1.. that service was for 30 days or more, continuous or aggregated; or
      2.. that service was ended, before the completion of 30 days, due to
      death or evacuation owing to illness or injury or a disability arising from
      that service; or
      3.. that service was less than 30 days’ service, but the person was
      given a royal honour for gallantry in Korea, its adjacent waters, or Japan.
      5.. Delegation
      Under clause 11(2) of the Royal Warrant, the Chief of Defence Force or a
      Chief of Staff acting for the Chief of Defence Force is authorised to award
      the New Zealand General Service Medal with the Clasp “KOREA 1954-57” to any
      person who is qualified for the award of that Medal with the Clasp “KOREA
      6.. Revocation
      The New Zealand General Service Medal (Korea 1954-57) Regulations 1998 (SR
      1998/193) are revoked.
      Dated at Wellington this 23rd day of July 2002.

      Mark Burton, Minister of Defence.
      The Vietnam Medal

      ELIZABETH THE SECOND, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith,

      To all to whom these Presents shall come,


      WHEREAS We have given consideration to the need for recognition of the service of members of the New Zealand Armed Forces and by duly accredited members of approved philanthropic organisations serving with these forces in assisting the forces of the Republic of Vietnam to repel aggression;

      AND WHEREAS We are desirous of recognising this service to Our Realm of New Zealand; We do by these presents for Us, Our Heirs and Successors institute and create a new Medal.

      1.. The Medal shall be designated and styled The Vietnam Medal.
      2.. The Medal shall be of silver and circular in shape bearing on the obverse Our Royal Effigy Crowned, and, on the reverse, the word ‘Vietnam’ inscribed above a symbol representation of the ideological war in Vietnam, depicting the figure of man in the centre of the Medal, standing between spherical shapes.
      3.. The Medal shall be worn on the left breast suspended by a yellow ribbon one and one quarter inches in width bordered on the left with a dark blue strip, representing the Navy and on the right a light blue strip, representing the Air Force, both being one quarter of an inch wide and edged on the inner side with strips of red, representing the Army, each one eighth of an inch wide. Within a space of one sixth of an inch in the centre of the ribbon, three vertical stripes in red of a lighter hue, each of equal width are super-imposed on the yellow, the distance between each stripe being equal to the width of the stripe.
      4.. The Medal shall be awarded to those members of Our New Zealand Armed Forces who, on or after 29 May 1964, have rendered service in operations in Vietnam in accordance with the conditions specified hereinafter.
      5.. Accredited members of approved New Zealand philanthropic organisations attached to the Forces in Vietnam in an official capacity for full-time duty in uniform shall also be eligible for the Medal.
      6.. Eligibility shall not be affected by the grant of any other award for service in Vietnam.
      7.. The conditions of award of the Medal shall be common to members of the three Services and shall be:
      1.. Service of twenty-eight days, continuous or aggregated, in ships or craft employed in operations on inland waters or off the coast of Vietnam;
      2.. Service of one day or more on the posted strength of a unit or formation on land in Vietnam;
      3.. One operational sortie over Vietnam or Vietnamese waters by aircrew on the posted strength of a unit allocated for direct support of operations in Vietnam; or
      4.. Service of thirty days, continuous or aggregated, for official visits, inspections or other occurrences of a temporary nature on duty in Vietnam, or in ships or craft engaged in operations off the Vietnamese coast.
      8.. The qualifying period of service as described in subparagraphs 7(i) and 7(iv) will be waived where a member’s service is brought to an end because of death or evacuation owing to wounds or other disability due to service, or the member is awarded a British Honour, Decoration or a Medal of the status of the British Empire Medal or above, a Mention-in-Despatches or a Queen’s Commendation for gallantry on a specific occasion during the uncompleted qualifying period.
      9.. Accredited members of philanthropic organisations, as defined in paragraph 5, qualify for the award if they have service of one day or more with forces engaged in the operations in Vietnam from 29 May 1964.
      10.. When a Mention-in-Despatches or a Queen’s Commendation has been granted for service in operations in Vietnam, the appropriate Emblem will be worn on the ribbon of the Vietnam Medal.
      11.. The respective Service Boards are granted the authority to approve awards of the Medal to those who have already qualified, and to those who render service in the future when they have qualified.
      12.. It shall be competent for Our Governor-General in and over Our Realm of New Zealand to cancel and annul the award of the Medal to any member of Our Armed Forces or to any member of an accredited organisation attached to these Forces.
      Given at Our Court of St. James’s this eight day of June one thousand nine hundred and sixty-eight, in the seventeenth year of Our Reign.

      By Her Majesty’s Command,
      D.S. THOMSON, Minister of Defence.

  7. Dave Neil says:

    Many thanks for the above.
    Thought that I would give our local MP, Ms Dean, the opportunity to give a bit of thought to the current situation re the NZ”Def Medal”., so I sent her an e mail suggesting – politely of course – that she might like to hurry things along (or words to that effect!) .Will keep you posted re her reply- email receipt has been acknowledged

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