Three Services as one force, being the best in everything we do  

New Zealand Campaign Medals - The East Timor Medal

Obverse View

The East Timor Medal obverse view

Reverse View

The East Timor Medal reverse view

About the East Timor Medal

The East Timor Medal was instituted in 2001 to recognise New Zealand personnel (both military and non military) who served in East Timor from the commencement of the New Zealand involvement in June 1999 until 27 April 2006. This medal was issued to over 5,000 New Zealanders.

The medal is silver-plated and is circular in shape. On the obverse is the Effigy of the Sovereign within the Royal styles and titles for New Zealand. On the reverse is a representation of the head of a kiwi over a map of East Timor with the words “EAST TIMOR” below and, in the top right of the reverse, a sprig of olive leaves. This design alludes to the presence of New Zealanders (‘the Kiwis’), both Defence and civilian personnel, in East Timor. The sprig of olive leaves symbolises peace.

This campaign medal is unique in that it has been awarded to civilians from more than a dozen New Zealand government, philanthropic, or commercial organisations. These organisations have included the New Zealand Red Cross, Oxfam, Department of Corrections, New Zealand Customs Service, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Quarantine Service, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand Police, New Zealand Qualifications Authority, the International Olympic Committee, Airways Consulting Ltd, Vincent Aviation, and Radiola Corporation Ltd, as well as the New Zealand Defence Force. The award of the East Timor Medal to these New Zealand civilians recognises their valuable participation in New Zealand's efforts to protect and assist the East Timorese people, and in the reconstruction of East Timor.

For a detailed discussion of the service by New Zealand military personnel in East Timor between 1999 and August 2001, please consult John Crawford and Glyn Harper, Operation East Timor: The New Zealand Defence Force in East Timor, 1999-2001, published by Reed Publishing (NZ) Ltd in 2001. This book includes hundreds of photographs and a nominal roll of New Zealand Defence Force personnel who served in East Timor between 1999 and August 2001. Appendix B, pp.174-176, of this book provides a list of "Honours, Awards and Commendations Received for Service in East Timor and in Support of Operations in East Timor" between 1999 and August 2001 by New Zealand Defence Force personnel. This book is available in public libraries throughout New Zealand.

New Zealanders in East Timor / Timor-Leste have served with four United Nations missions and with the Australian led International Force East Timor (INTERFET). Information on the United Nations and the INTERFET medallic recognition for this service can be found in the Medals by Campaign table. Further information about the four United Nations missions in East Timor / Timor-Leste since 1999 can be found on the following four United Nations websites: United Nations Assistance Mission in East Timor (UNAMET - 11 June 1999 to 25 October 1999), United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET - 25 October 1999 to 20 May 2002), United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET - 20 May 2002 to 20 May 2005), and United Nations Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL - 20 May 2005 to 19 May 2006).

The New Zealand Defence Force involvement in East Timor between 1999 and 2002 was New Zealand's largest operational military commitment since the Korean War.

About the ribbon

The colours of the ribbon are (from left to right) white, black, red, green, red, black and white. The colours allude to the national colours of New Zealand (black and white) and of East Timor (green and red).

The design of the ribbon is based on that approved for the New Zealand War Service Medal (black with narrow white edges) with the addition, in the centre, of the East Timorese colours.

Both the medal and the ribbon were designed by the New Zealand Herald of Arms, Mr Phillip O’Shea, in consultation with the New Zealand Defence Force and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Royal Warrant

The Royal Warrant for the East Timor Medal can be viewed here, and an amendment to the Royal Warrant can be viewed here

Medal Regulations

The criteria for the award of this medal is included in the Royal Warrants.

Clasps and Bars

A silver clasp “East Timor” was awarded for additional service in the area. The qualifying period was continuous or aggregated service of 365 days or more between 19 June 1999 and 27 April 2006.

Order of Wear

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

Media Statements concerning the East Timor Medal

Recipients of New Zealand Gallantry Awards for their actions in East Timor

      Awarded the New Zealand Gallantry Star

      Awarded the New Zealand Gallantry Decoration

      Awarded the New Zealand Gallantry Medal

Media Statements concerning other medals recognising service by New Zealanders in East Timor

Other Campaign Medals awarded to New Zealanders for service in East Timor / Timor-Leste between 1999 and 2006