I, and other servicemen and ex servicemen recently attended the funeral of a fellow shipmate who had served 21 years and 90 days in Her Majesty’s NZ Naval Force.  A certificate of service was provided to the local RSA and in consultation with Veterans Affairs it was determined that he was ineligble to be buried in the Service Section of his local cemetery.


He had no ‘Operational Service’ according to Veterans Affairs.

I and many other serviceman present were disgusted that a man who had served his country was denied his wish and that of his family.   Where have we gone wrong?

On review of the Burial and Cremations Act 1964, Section 15 which was last amended in 1997 it would appear that the term ‘Operational Service’ used as the criteria for medallic recognition has now flowed on to whether a serviceman is eligible to be buried in the Service Section of a cemetery.

So, under current legislation, if you served after 1966 on the Far East Strategic Reserve and never qualified for ‘Operational Service’ under current legislation you are not entitled to be interred in a plot reserved for a member of Her Majesty’s Forces.

I like many of you have served in the forces for a good part of our life.  I have completed 52 years in the service, I am not classed as a veteran, I have not qualified for ‘Operational Service’,  I served in the Far East Strategic Reserve and I find now that I am not eligible to be buried in the Service Section of my local cemetery.

If you are concerned as to your entitlement it is strongly recommended that you write to the Minister of Defence, Minister of Veterans Affairs, Your local MP, National RSA and the Chief of Defence Force expressing your concerns over eligibility.

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16 Responses to DID YOU KNOW?

  1. Harvey Tutauha says:

    Yes, I did …
    ■ I’ve pointed this out to VANZ, and asked how do I relinquish my NZOSM and NZGSM 1992 back to NZDF, and the Certificate of Appreciation and Veteran’s Lapel Pin be cancelled, because like the Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs, when he turns 65 next year, he’s not entitled to the Veterans Super Gold Card.
    ■ I’ve been in possession of the Super Gold Card since April 2017.

    In my opinion, Professor Ron Patterson’s recommendations of his review must be taken seriously. .Successive Governments have tried to make amendments to past efforts, and keep stuffing things up …

  2. gunther says:

    Its funny.. back in ’72’ whilst on Taranaki as an ARD, waiting to be promoted to LRD I was told by signal that I was to be posted to HMNZS Otago, the change over being when we arrived in Singapore. To say I was a little pissed off would put it mildly, here I was settled in on Taranaki, good boss (neal) good comms crew, and a whole Far East commission ahead of us..but fate raised its fickle finger…. Otago the following year went to Mururoa and hence “operational service”.. I’m classed as a veteran and all that goes with it..carma for all those postings to Waiouru.. I have great sympathy for those who did time (tom, frank etc) but I dont think you are going to beat “city hall”, the upheaval would be just to much for the politicians to make or take

    • Paul Murray says:

      I was the lucky bugger Gunther, it was 31 Mar 1973 I was an ARD on Otago and posted to Taranaki alongside in Singapore. Bob Sadler was the PRD on Taranaki at that time and Rex Edwards was an LRD.

      • gunther says:

        I’ve just looked at my posting orders for 72..Posted off Taranaki in Dec to Otago as an LRD. neal was the RS on her then.. Rex stayed on Taranaki as the LRD.. i don’t know if Neal had a crash draft off of Taranaki but he certainly was on her in 72 Dec and in 73 as she was on FES…don’t know when she got back to NZ..but would have been sometime mid 73…who was the RS on Otago when u posted off in Singapore???

      • Paul Murray says:

        Taranaki returned to Auckland 8/10/73. Unless Bob Sadler also joined Taranaki in Singapore, he certainly was the PRD when I joined in Singapore. From memory I think David Jasper Robertson was the PRD on Otago?
        There wasn’t a reply option on your entry September 22, 2018 at 2:39 pm

  3. gunther says:

    The veteran status I didn’t find out about until 2008, 25yrs after I had left the Navy. If I had of known sooner, maybe I could have worn a vet’s badge on my uniform for my last 11 years in the navy????

  4. Neill Dorset says:

    Once again this is what happens when you get ‘bureaucrats’ with no concept of ‘service to their country’ being placed in positions to make, change, or alter legislation with such a drastic flow-on effect to those that deserved better recognition from the politicians and fellow countrymen.

  5. Bill Bartlett says:

    I can only but sympathise with those affected by this beauracratic crap that has is jeopodising results of our contribution in the defense of our country. New Zealand Defence Force nut heads need to things sorted! We are NOT CERTAIN YET at who qualifies to be reciognised as a bloody Veteran! I think they should start with Veterans Affairs! New Zealand appears at ODDS with the rest of our allies in the definition of a bloody “Veteran”! I hope Proff. Ron Patterson is taking note of all this. Cheers all!
    Billl B

  6. Harvey Tutauha says:

    VANZ – Volatile Authoritative Nonsensical Zealots
    ■ I upset the organisation .. and they continue to duck-and-dive.
    ■ I copied their old website, knowing that with the VSA 2014, things were going to change.

    Have a gander at my Facebook Photo Album .. it will remain public while this fiasco remains after Professor Ron Paterson’s Review … might get some answer by Christmas … not sure which one?

    Harsh may come to peoples' minds about my definition of that acronymn, but what I've witnessed lately, the NZDF Unit -…

    Posted by Harvey Tutauha on Wednesday, March 15, 2017


  7. Brian Edwards in Oz says:

    Absolutely Gobsmacked!! Cant understand as to why this isn’t making front page news in NZ and overseas. Also, where did the year 1966 come from as have had a quick sqizz?. Really feel for those Veterans.
    Cheers Pilz

  8. gunther says:

    Well skin there seems to be a mystery somewhere in the system then..will contact neal and see if he remembers anything. and yes dave was the RS on Otago when I joined her fm Taranaki..

    • Paul Murray says:

      I have a photo of Taranaki arriving in Auckland with myself and Bob on the upper deck. It was through Bob when he was on Taranaki that I met my wife Lesley. I am sure Neal will be able to confirm when you served with him.

  9. Neal Catley says:

    No question, there is a lack of faith among current and ex servicemen/women about the current entitlement regarding the Burial and Cremations Act 1964. This delinquent Act denied Chief Petty Officer Yeoman of Signals, Pokiha Hiini, RNZN and his family their wish that Pokiha be buried in the Service Section of the Waiheke Island Cemetery. I hold the Burial and Cremations Act 1964 in abhorrence!

    The following snippets have a definite ring of truth about them!

    In times of war and not before,
    God and the Sailor we adore,
    But in times of peace and all things righted,
    God is forgotten and the sailor slighted.

    False hopes for all who have served her Majesty the Queen even to giving their all, are the eternal shame of those unthinking, uncaring and ignoble minds who formulate unthinking policy. Whose only contribution to our country is a tangible reward, self gain and self importance, lacking totally in substance and the understanding New Zealand Defence Force men and women actually suffered and some died for them.

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