New Zealand State Honours - The New Zealand Antarctic Medal (NZAM)
About the New Zealand Antarctic Medal
The New Zealand Antarctic Medal (NZAM) was instituted as a New Zealand Royal Honour on 1 September 2006 to replace the (British) Polar Medal. The Polar Medal was instituted in 1904 and awarded to those who had made notable contributions to the exploration and knowledge of Polar Regions and who, in doing so, had undergone the hazards and rigours imposed by the Polar environment to life and movement, whether by land, sea or air.
The 1995 Prime Minister’s Honours Advisory Committee recommended that the Polar Medal should be retained and constituted under a New Zealand Royal Warrant. It also recommended that consideration should be given to renaming or reconstituting this award as “The Antarctic Medal” to reflect the fact that it is relation to Antarctica that New Zealand’s endeavours and achievements have been made. Following consultation with interested groups, The New Zealand Antarctic Medal was formally instituted by The Queen on 1 September 2006.
The New Zealand Antarctic Medal may be awarded to those New Zealanders and other persons who either individually or as members of a New Zealand programme in the Antarctic region have made an outstanding contribution to exploration, scientific research, conservation, environmental protection, or knowledge of the Antarctic region; or in support of New Zealand’s objectives or operations, or both, in the Antarctic region. The Medal will not be awarded for acts of bravery, for short-term acts of extreme endurance, for long service or for service in Antarctica generally.
Recipients may use the letters “NZAM” after their name.
The New Zealand Antarctic Medal may be awarded posthumously.
As at 4 January 2019, 14 persons have been awarded the New Zealand Antarctic Medal. The list of recipients is published on the New Zealand Honours Unit website.
Announcement of Awards
Awards of the New Zealand Antarctic Medal will normally be announced in the regular New Year and Queen’s Birthday Honours Lists.
Design and Manufacture
The Medal is struck in Sterling Silver and retains the famous octagonal shape and white ribbon of the Polar Medal.
The obverse bears the effigy of the Queen by Ian Rank-Broadley, FRBS, FSNAD, of the United Kingdom and the inscription Elizabeth II Queen of New Zealand. This effigy is also used on the New Zealand Gallantry and Bravery Awards.
The reverse design shows a group of four Emperor Penguins on an Antarctic landscape with Mt Erebus in the background.
Both the medal and the ribbon were designed by the New Zealand Herald of Arms, Mr Phillip O’Shea, CNZM, LVO.
The Medal is manufactured by Eng Leong Medallic Industries Pte. Ltd, of Singapore, who also manufacture 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 rim of the medal.
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 Antarctic Medal was signed by Queen Elizabeth II as the Queen of New Zealand on 1 September 2006.
Regulations for The New Zealand Antarctic Medal were signed by Prime Minister Helen Clark on 5 September 2006.
Clasps and Bars
A holder of The New Zealand Antarctic Medal, who performs further services worthy of another award, may be awarded a Bar to their medal.
The New Zealand Antarctic Medal ranks as a sixth level award and takes precedence immediately following The Queen’s Service Medal.
Order of Wear
The position of this medal in the Wearing of Medals in New Zealand Table can be viewed here.
Media Statement concerning The New Zealand Antarctic Medal
- 4 September 2006 - New Zealand Antarctic Medal
Lists of Awards of The New Zealand Antarctic Medal
Lists of awards of The New Zealand Antarctic Medal since 2006 are published on the New Zealand Honours Unit website.