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New Zealand State Honours - Companion of the Queen’s Service Order (QSO)

Obverse View

Companion of the Queen’s Service Order (QSO) obverse view

About the Queen's Service Order

The Queen's Service Order (QSO) was instituted by New Zealand in 1975 to supplement British honours. The QSO is a single-class New Zealand Order. It arose out of a desire to recognise voluntary service to the community and also elected or appointed public office. Its membership is restricted to no more than 30 appointments each year. Persons appointed to the QSO are styled "Companions", and are entitled to use the post nominal letters 'QSO' after their names. Military personnel are not eligible for appointment to this Order as a result of their military service, however, community service performed in a civilian capacity can be recognised.

Between 1975 and May 2007, the QSO was divided into two sub-divisions: “for Community Service” to recognise voluntary service to the community, and “for Public Services” to recognise service through elected and appointed office. This distinction was removed on 21 May 2007. At this time the design of the badge of the QSO was slightly amended to reflect the changes. The effigy of The Queen is now the same as that used on other New Zealand medals, and the inscriptions on the badge of the Order now read “FOR SERVICE” and “MŌ NGA MAHI NUI. A 1975 to May 2007 QSO is shown on this page.

More information on the Queen's Service Order is available at the New Zealand Honours Unit website.

The Queen's Service Order also has an associated medal: the Queen's Service Medal (QSM).

About the ribbon

The ribbon is 36 mm in width. It has narrow red ochre (kokowhai) edges with a centre of alternating stripes of red ochre, white and black descending step pattern from left to right. The design is based on the Maori Poutama (stepped) pattern used in Tukutuku wall panels. It is usually interpreted as the “stairway to heaven”, but in this case alludes to “steps of service”.

The same ribbon is worn with the Queen's Service Medal (QSM).

Royal Warrant

All New Zealand State Honours are instituted under a Royal Warrant signed by Queen Elizabeth II as the Queen of New Zealand. More information on New Zealand State Honours is available at the New Zealand Honours Unit website.


State Honours do not usually have separate Regulations. Instructions for the administration of the Order or Honour are usually included in the Royal Warrant. The composite document containing the Royal Warrant and Instructions is usually referred to as the Statutes of the Order.

Clasps and Bars

There are no clasps or bars associated with this honour.

Order of Wear

The position of this honour in the Wearing of Medals in New Zealand Table can be viewed here.

Media Statement concerning the Queen's Service Order

Lists of Appointments to the Queen's Service Order

Lists of appointments to the Queen's Service Order since 1995 are published on the New Zealand Honours Unit website.

Lists of recipients between 1975 and 1994 are available online on:

1) The Gazette: . Search the London Gazette using the date of announcement and/or publication of the Honours List in the London Gazette.

For example, the New Zealand New Year Honours List 1987 is viewable (in five separate pdf files) at: (p.33) (p.34) (p.35) (p.36) (p.37)

For more information on awards and accreditations in The Gazette see: - 'A Personal and National Record of Achievement: awards and accreditations in The Gazette' (includes the London Gazette, the Edinburgh Gazette and the Belfast Gazette)


2) Most of the New Zealand Honours Lists since 1975 are also available as text on Wikipedia.

For example, see for the text of the New Zealand New Year Honours List 1987.

Each Wikipedia entry also provides a link to the first page of the relevant London Gazette announcement, from which the other pages can be accessed.

It is not known who added this large amount of information about New Zealand Honours Lists to Wikipedia.

Please note that the Wikipedia lists are not authoritative and any data should be checked against the original source: the New Zealand Gazette (available online for awards since 1993) or the London Gazette.


List as at 1 December 1976 of living New Zealand holders of the Victoria Cross and George Cross, Members of all Orders of Chivalry (including Knights), and Orders, and Knights Bachelor

As published in Phillip P. O'Shea, Honours, Titles, Styles, and Precedence in New Zealand. (1977) - see pp.56-181. A single list sorted alphabetically by the surname of the recipient. The list covers all living holders as at 1 December 1976 of any of these awards.

The list states the year the honour was awarded and the recipient's residential address (as at 1 December 1976).

Also included in the list are those appointed to the Queen's Service Order in 1975 and 1976.