New Zealand State Honours - The New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration
About the New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration
The New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration was instituted as a New Zealand Royal Honour in 2007 to recognise distinguished military service, by regular, territorial and reserve members of the New Zealand Defence Force, including command, leadership and service in an operational environment, or in support of operations.
Until 1995 this type of service was recognised by awards of the British Empire Medal (Military Division) and the lower levels of the Military Division of the Order of the British Empire. Since the change to a totally New Zealand Honours system in 1996, these British awards have not been available to New Zealand military personnel.
The Decoration may be awarded to all military ranks of the New Zealand Defence Force, or uniformed members of allied forces operating with or alongside units of the New Zealand Defence Force. The Decoration may be awarded for the outstanding performance of military duties in either warlike or non-warlike operations and for individual efforts toward peacetime and humanitarian service which brings great credit to the New Zealand Defence Force and contributes significantly, through exceptional devotion to duty, dedication, judgement or application of skills to one or more of the following:
1. the conduct of an operational deployment;
2. the conduct of military training or a military operation or operations; and
3. the management and implementation of a project or activity with significant implications for the current or future capability of the New Zealand Defence Force.
The New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration also may be awarded for a singular accomplishment or instance of extraordinary performance of duty, or be awarded for superior cumulative efforts over a sustained period of time.
Recipients may use the letters “DSD” after their name.
The Decoration and Bar to the Decoration may be awarded posthumously.
As at 4 January 2018, 106 members of the New Zealand Defence Force have been awarded the New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration. There have been no second awards to the same person.
Announcement of Awards
Awards of the New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration will normally be announced in the regular New Year and Queen’s Birthday Honours Lists.
About the ribbon
The ribbon is blue and red, with two narrow yellow stripes that signify ‘achievement’. Red and Blue are traditional military colours and have been used for medal ribbons since the first Military General Service Medal (1793 - 1814), the Waterloo Medal (1815) and the (British) Distinguished Service Order.
Design and Manufacture
The Decoration is made of Sterling Silver. The obverse design is a representation of eight blades of a Kotiate (lobed club) in a circle with a St Edward’s Crown (Royal Crown) in the centre. The front four blades are frosted silver, the rear blades are polished silver. The reverse bears the inscriptions “FOR DISTINGUISED SERVICE” and “MŌ NGĀ TE MAHI KAHURANGI”.
A Kotiate or “liver cutter” is a lobed, or fiddle-shaped, war club made of hard wood or bone, the blades of which may be plain or decoratively carved. This type of club was used as both a weapon and an item of personal adornment. In addition, it was used to reflect status, rank, authority, pride, mana or ceremonial importance, similar to the use of military swords.
The design of the Decoration and the ribbon is the work of the New Zealand Herald of Arms, Mr Phillip O’Shea, CNZM, LVO.
The Decoration is manufactured by Eng Leong Medallic Industries Pte Ltd, of Singapore, who also manufacture The New Zealand Antarctic Medal and many of the campaign and special service medals for the New Zealand Defence Force.
Naming of Awards
The recipient’s name and date of the award are engraved on the reverse of the Decoration between the two inscriptions.
A distinctive Lapel Badge, for everyday wear, is issued to living recipients. This is in line with the Lapel Badges and policy adopted for the various other distinctive New Zealand honours.
Each award is accompanied by a certificate signed by The Queen and the Governor-General.
The Royal Warrant for the New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration can be viewed here.
The Regulations for the New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration can be viewed here.
Clasps and Bars
A holder of The New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration, who performs further services worthy of another award, may be awarded a Bar to their Decoration.
The New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration ranks as a sixth level award and takes precedence immediately following The New Zealand Antarctic Medal.
Order of Wear
The position of this Decoration in the Wearing of Medals in New Zealand Table can be viewed here.
The Directorate of Career and Talent Management, HQNZDF, administers the DSD on behalf of the New Zealand Defence Force.
To submit a nomination please complete a MD592 form (Note: This link to the NZDF Forms page will only work on the NZDF intranet). This is the same process as for the New Zealand Defence Meritorious Service Medal (DMSM).
For any questions on the nomination process or eligibility criteria for this award please contact Mr David Baguley, Manager Honours and Awards - DTelN 349-8814.
Media statements and news articles concerning the New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration
- 4 January 2019 - NZDF Honours in the 2019 New Year Honours list
- 5 June 2018 - Queen’s Birthday Honours 2018
- 5 January 2018 - New Year's Honours recognise meritorious service
- 5 June 2017 - NZDF personnel named in Queen's Birthday Honours List 2017
- 31 December 2016 - Service as Soldier and Musician Recognised in New Year Honours
- 6 June 2016 - NZDF personnel named in the Queen's Birthday Honours List 2016
- 1 January 2016 - NZ Defence Force personnel named in New Year Honours list
- 3 December 2015 - Gallantry awards mark courage and service
- 3 December 2015 - Special Honours for soldiers
- 1 June 2015 - NZDF personnel named in Queen's Birthday Honours List
- 1 January 2015 - NZ Defence Force personnel named in New Year Honours list
- 2 June 2014 - Four NZDF Personnel receive Queen's Birthday Honours
- 1 January 2014 - Defence personnel named in New Year Honours list
- 3 June 2013 - Six NZDF personnel named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list
- 29 May 2013 - North Shore Army officer decorated for service in Afghanistan
- 7 January 2013 - NZDF personnel named in New Year Honours list
- 7 September 2012 - Governor-General presents Awards to New Zealand Defence Force personnel
- 4 June 2012 - NZ Defence Force personnel named in Honours List 2012
- 10 January 2012 - New Year Honours awarded to five NZDF personnel
- 4 June 2011 - Defence personnel named in Queen's Birthday Honours 2011
- 15 February 2011 - “Bamiyan Babies” Nurse coordinator honoured in New Years list
- 5 January 2011 - New Year Honours for NZDF personnel
- 4 June 2010 - Defence Personnel named in Queen's Birthday Honours 2010
- 5 January 2010 - Defence Personnel named in New Year's Honours
- 1 September 2009 - Two part-time Army soldiers recognised with honours
- 29 May 2009 - Defence personnel named in Queen's Birthday Honours 2009
- 7 January 2009 - New Year Honours for NZDF Personnel
- 3 June 2008 - NZDF Personnel named in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2008
- 7 January 2008 - New Year Honours for NZDF Personnel
- 5 June 2007 - Defence Personnel named in Queen's Birthday Honours 2007
- 21 May 2007 - New Honour for Military Service
Lists of Awards of the New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration
List of awards of the New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration since 2007 are published on the New Zealand Honours Unit website.