Operational Service – What does this Mean?

If you are an ex serviceman/woman or, currently serving please read on. Under the current rules if you were lucky enough to have served in an operational theatre you will have received the Operational Service Medal and have notated on your service records that you have qualified for ‘Operational Service’. Please note that not all personnel in receipt of this medal qualify for ‘Operational Service’.

Well – “what does this entitle you to?” It entitles you to be buried in the service section of your local cemetery.

Now, if you were not so lucky to be posted overseas to an operational theatre but served in the New Zealand Defence Force and supported those who did serve overseas and did not qualify for ‘Operational Service’.

What does this entitle you to? NOTHING! Your service in the NZDF warrants for absolutely NOTHING and you are not entitled to be buried in the Service Section of your local cemetery.

So, it doesn’t MATTER:

  • how many years you have served in the Armed Forces,
  • that you took an Oath or Affirmation when you joined the NZDF,
  • that you were willing to serve Her Majesty the Queen and thus put your life in jeopardy if the cause arose,
  • that you were not posted to serve on a ship or ashore in an Operational environment and that you continued to provide support.

YOUR SERVICE TO YOUR COUNTRY AMOUNTS TO NOTHING! when it comes to your time to cross the bar.

NOW if you agree with the current entitlement regarding the Burial and Cremations Act 1964 then please do nothing.

However, if you think that your service in the NZDF should count and it should be recognised and that the current rules in the Burial and Cremation Act 1964 are out of touch then, I would encourage you to download and send the template letter by clicking HERE, place your address at the top of the page, date the letter, enter your local Member of Parliament name and SIGN it at the bottom but most importantly post it.

You are encouraged not to add anything further to the letter as experience has shown that personal comments may water down the letter and detract from its intent.  DO IT NOW!

Other Avenues you may like to consider and raise this issue with:

Your local RSA
The National Office of the RSA
The Chief of Defence Force
The Minister of Veterans Affairs
Your local Naval Club
The Chief Petty Officer mentioned in the letter was Chief Petty Officer Yeoman of Signals Pokiha Hiini who recently passed away suddenly at Waiheke Island.

If you are currently serving in the New Zealand Defence Force and wish to support this initiative please check your rules for sending letters to your local Member of Parliament.


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16 Responses to Operational Service – What does this Mean?

  1. Thane Zander says:

    Kia ora Frank,

    How about Monowai??

    She was involved with the Fiji Coup’s

    She was Duty Observer Ship for the Chinese Missile Tests.

    Not sure how SOPAC’s weigh?? Kiribati, Funafuti and Solomons.


    T.W. Zander 162 College Street Awapuni Palmerston North 4412

    MOB 021 0865 7767

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10


  2. MOLE says:

    All the 87 Fiji Coup (Operation Wells) gave us was Returned Service Status in WELLINGTON we had one of our young Stokers arrested because he was of Indian Origin, my LWTR was also detained by the Police along with the rest of his duty watch when returning from High Commissioners Office because the Fijians found a Military Battery for their radio in the van. It was an interesting week I felt sorry for the Golliwogs poor sods put in a lot of overtime and gave the appearance of Zombies half the time.

    • Frank Rands says:

      Mole, have you sent off the templated letter to your local MP?

    • Barry Doran says:

      Barry Doran here J24296. I was an LRF on Wellington during that Fiji Coup and recall that it gave us “Returned Status” at the RSA. How can a returned serviceman not have this acknowledged in some way? Surely it must count towards some sort of operational service otherwise what are you returned from??
      I was a section leader in the ships Internal Security Platoon ordered to guard the NZ embassy and Ambassadors residence during this time.

  3. Bocbro Jimmy says:

    Frank, would it benefit our cause to let the media know, I am sure the average kiwi would be appalled ?. Yes letter on the way.


    • Frank Rands says:


      Media is an option which we are considering but we all believe we should give the Minister a chance to sort this problem. If he dosen’t come through then standby… media will certainly be considered.

  4. Bill Bartlett says:


  5. Peter McNeill says:

    Letter on the way

  6. Paddy (Dodger) Long says:

    I see that Veterans Affairs have a list of “Qualifying Operational Service” on their website — https://www.veteransaffairs.mil.nz/eligibility/qualifying-service/qualifying-operational-service/list-of-qualifying-operations/
    Since the French Nuclear Tests at Mururoa in 1973 – HMNZS Canterbury and Otago – are included in this list as qualifying for Operational Service – I presume that the crew of both ships would also qualify for the NZ Operational Service Medal ??? Anyone have any info on this – as far as I know, none of us have been awarded the NZOSM so far ….. !!

  7. Wings says:

    Hi Dodger, no there will be no NZOSM for Mururoa Vets as we were given a SSM for this wee sojourn into the Pacific instead. All tied up with the government not wanting to know anything about it and the ongoing effects on those who were there.

  8. Danny O'Connell says:

    I’ve been thinking about this for some time and have come to the conclusion (like most of you I’m sure) that this is not acceptable. As luck would have it, I have been deemed a Veteran by virtue of some of the deployments that I was involved with, i.e. because of the ship that I was posted to at the time. In other words, right place – right time! But, in my view, any and all that I served alongside in the RNZN hold rights to the same title.
    One of the outcomes of this that really irks me is the right to be interned in the Service section of the cemetery. They are saying that there are two different classes of serviceman and that some don’t ‘deserve’ to be buried alongside the rest of us! Utter bullshit and this upsets me because, when my time comes, I have always wanted to be in a service section plot alongside my brother servicemen. Well now I find that some are not considered equal! I don’t wish to be ‘elitist’!
    I feel deeply for those that would want this also but are being told that they are not considered worthy. I feel deeply for their families who know what their loved ones wish’s are but are unable to carry them out. To that end, last week I sent off the template letter to my local MP, Ian McKelvie, member for Rangitikei. I received a reply from his office today requesting a meeting in 2 weeks time.
    I don’t know if this will have much of an impact or how much weight it will carry but it seems that Mr. McKelvie is willing to at least listen. To that end, please let me know your thoughts on this and help me get a few thoughts together so that I might be able to get them across well.

  9. Dennis Powell NZD17506 says:

    Bravo Zulu Danny, my sentiments exactly. I too have qualified as a veteran but vehemently disagree with the current rule exempting those who didn’t spend any,or didn’t spend long enough,in whatever theatre to qualify. Just “signing on” should be the trigger to becoming a veteran.
    Therefore I too have sent the letter to my local MP and also registered my thoughts to her via telephone and receiving a promise that the letter would be forwarded to the current Minister of Veterans Affairs for consideration. Cheers, Ditz Powell

  10. Colin (Budge) Burgess says:

    Further to Reds comments on visiting Dan Bidios, our MP. Dan has undertaken to write to the minister of veterans affairs expressing our concerns and asking for a Naval presence on the board. Preferably personal who have served on operational ships in 60’s 70’s and early 80’s.He will forward me the letter too proof read before forwarding to the minister.

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