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

United Nations Medals

Service by military personnel and by civilian Police personnel in United Nations peace-keeping missions throughout the world since 1948 is recognised by the award of a medal bearing the United Nations emblem.

United Nations medallic policy is that other civilians are not awarded United Nations awards. The exceptions are:

a) The United Nations Medal (Korea) was also awarded to a limited range of civilians whose organisations were certified by the United Nations Commander-in-Chief as having directly supported military operations in Korea between 1950 and 1954.

b) The Dag Hammarskjöld Medal is awarded to military personnel, civilian Police personnel and other civilians who lose their lives while in the service of the United Nations.

From 1948 when the first international force was formed for the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) in Israel, the requirement for a medal to recognise peace-keeping service was identified. Several individual campaign medals were issued including one for the Korean War before a policy of standardising on one medal with different ribbons for each campaign was adopted.

To date, there have been more than 60 individual UN missions established each one recognised by the award of the United Nations Medal. Many New Zealand military and civilian Police personnel have taken part in UN missions all over the world. As a consequence the UN medal with a great variety of different mission ribbons is commonly worn in this country.

For detailed discussions of the involvement of New Zealand military personnel and civilian police in United Nations missions between 1950 and 1995 please consult John Crawford¸ In The Field for Peace: New Zealand’s Contribution to International Peace-Support Operations: 1950-1995, published by the New Zealand Defence Force in 1996. This book is available in public libraries throughout New Zealand.

For information on all United Nations missions and medals since 1948 please consult Lawrence H Borts, United Nations Medals and Missions: The Medals and Ribbons of the United Nations, published by Medals of America Press in 1998 (which covers all missions between 1948 and 1998), and the United Nations website.

For a very thorough and informative discussion of all United Nations missions between 1948 and 1996 see The Blue Helmets: A Review of United Nations Peace-keeping 1948-96, third edition, authored and published by the United Nations in 1996 (808 pages). The Blue Helmets also includes detailed maps.

Link to Category Ribbons

The Ribbons of United Nations Medals and Missions can be viewed here.