British Commonwealth War and Campaign Medals Awarded to New Zealanders
Medals that are struck to commemorate and recognise service in a war or other warlike operational activity are known as Campaign Medals. They are awarded irrespective of rank to all personnel who served in the particular theatre of war or operation and who meet the minimum service requirement based on time and location. Until the end of the Second World War, New Zealand service personnel were awarded British Campaign Medals however since that time a number of specific New Zealand Campaign medals have been created.
Also awarded by NZ and Australia for service at Gallipoli: The ANZAC Commemorative Medallion.
Also awarded by NZ for Second World War service: The New Zealand War Service Medal.
For those who died due to war service the New Zealand Memorial Cross (King George VI) was also awarded.
New awards announced by the United Kingdom in 2013: The Arctic Star and the Bomber Command clasp
1946 to 2003 - most commonly awarded to New Zealanders for service in Korea, Malaya, Borneo or Rhodesia
Also awarded by NZ for post-Second World War operational service: The New Zealand Operational Service Medal.
More about campaign medals
Many campaign medals are awarded for service in very wide geographical areas. Service in a specific operation within the wider campaign area is often recognised by the award of a clasp engraved with the name of the specific area or activity. An example is The Africa Star which has three clasps, 1st Army, 8th Army and North Africa 42-43. There is no limit to the number of clasps which can be issued for one campaign medal. For example, the Queen's South Africa Medal, issued for the Boer War, has 26 clasps in total; and the original Naval General Service Medal (for service in naval battles and boat actions between 1793 and 1840), had no fewer than 230 different clasps issued for it. A complete listing of the clasps for the original Naval General Service Medal is provided in the Medal Yearbook; the relevant page numbers for the Medal Yearbook 2009 are pp.120-122.
All the medals in this category were instituted by the British Sovereign through a Royal Warrant. Some of these medals also have separate Regulations, Command Papers or Orders, which provide more detail concerning the eligibility criteria and administration instructions for the medal. Royal Warrants, Regulations, Command Papers or Orders, not included on this website can be found in archives and various museums in Britain.
Engraving of campaign medals
British Commonwealth campaign medals for service by New Zealand military personnel in the New Zealand Wars, South African War, the First World War and for operations after 3 September 1945 were normally engraved. For round medals the engraving was usually on the bottom rim. For stars the engraving was on the reverse.
However, campaign medals and stars awarded for service for New Zealand during the Second World War were issued unengraved. The same no engraving policy was applied by other British Commonwealth countries, except for Australia and South Africa.
New Zealand Campaign medals
Since 1945 New Zealand has created specific New Zealand Campaign medals for Second World War service (the New Zealand War Service Medal) and for operational service after 3 September 1945 (see the New Zealand Campaign medals section of our website).
Gallantry, Meritorious and Distinguished Service Awards
Thousands of New Zealand military personnel were awarded British Commonwealth Gallantry, Meritorious and Distinguished Service Awards in recognition of their exceptional service during the First and Second World Wars. British Commonwealth awards to New Zealanders were also made for military service in the periods 1840-1913 and 1946-1999.
Between 1974 and 2009 New Zealand made a series of changes to create an Honours and Awards system reflecting New Zealand's position as an independent sovereign nation. New Zealand created a range of New Zealand specific awards which would subsequently be awarded instead of British Commonwealth awards.
The changes included the institution in 1999 of eight New Zealand Gallantry and Bravery awards which replaced the range of equivalent British awards. These eight New Zealand awards are only conferred for acts of gallantry or bravery since 1990.
Link to Category Ribbons
Links to Information on Medals by Campaign and Medals by RNZN deployment
First and Second World War Medals - images and information