United Nations Medals - The United Nations Medal
Note: The United Nations Medal above is shown with the ribbon for the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM). The 28 distinctive ribbons for the 36 United Nation missions recognised by the United Nations Medal on which New Zealand personnel have served can be viewed here.
About the United Nations Medal
Initially the United Nations struck different medals or issued specific clasps for service in different United Nations missions. In 1966 a policy of issuing a standard United Nations Medal with different coloured mission ribbons was adopted. Some (related) missions utilise the same distinctive ribbon. The standard United Nations Medal uses the same obverse and reverse as the UNTSO Medal and the UNMOGIP Medal. No clasps have been issued by the United Nations since 1966.
The Sovereign has given approval for New Zealand military personnel and New Zealand civilian police to accept and wear the United Nations Medal for service in approved United Nations missions. Details about the 36 United Nations missions recognised by the United Nations Medal on which New Zealand personnel have served, and the 28 distinctive ribbons for these missions are included on the NZDF Medals site. A list of all United Nations missions and their ribbons can be found on the Medals of the World website. Further details on each on these missions can be found on the United Nations website and on the Canadian Forces website.
The medal is bronze with an image of the globe (centred on the North Pole) surrounded by a wreath of leaves on the front (obverse). The letters ‘UN’, in capitals, sit above the image of the globe. On the reverse are the words "IN THE SERVICE OF PEACE". The same medal design, with a different ribbon, is used for the United Nations Special Service Medal.
The Regulations for the United Nations Medal can be viewed here.
Clasps and Bars
Except for a few specific missions in the early 1960s (ONUC - Congo) and 1988-1990 (UNGOMAP and OSGAP - both in Afghanistan and Pakistan) no clasps or bars are worn on the United Nations Medal.
Silver numerals worn on the medal ribbon are awarded to denote additional periods of service with the same mission. The silver numerals are attached to the appropriate medal ribbon for the full-size medal, miniature medal and when ribbons alone are worn. (Note: Ribbons alone are usually only worn by serving uniformed personnel).
United Nations rules for the award of numerals
1) For service commencing on or after 1 September 1994: Continuous and accumulated service qualifies for numerals for United Nations Medals.
A person who qualifies for a United Nations Medal after 90 days service, qualifies for the Numeral 2 after 270 days service (continuous) or the 90th continuous day of their second deployment to the same United Nations mission.
Note 1: The United Nations eligibility criteria require that ‘only periods at least 90 consecutive days can be counted towards the total qualifying period’ for a United Nations medal or a numeral.
Note 2: Numerals are never authorised for the United Nations Special Service Medal.
2) For all service before 1 September 1994: Only separate deployments (each of at least 90 continuous days) qualify for the award of a numeral.
An individual is required to serve “more than one tour of duty with a UN mission” to be eligible to wear a numeral. Eligibility for a numeral is not governed by the length of any one tour of duty (TOD) but the number of TODs in the same Peacekeeping Operation (PKO). Service personnel must be fully repatriated and then reassigned to the same mission at a subsequent date to be eligible for a numeral.
A person qualifies for the Numeral 2 on their 90th continuous day of their second deployment to the same United Nations mission.
Note 1: Numerals are never authorised for the United Nations Special Service Medal.
Order of Wear
An example of the position of the United Nations Medal in the Wearing of Medals in New Zealand Table can be viewed here. The position of wear of each United Nations Medal for each individual will vary depending on when an individual qualified for each specific United Nations Medal. As for Campaign and War medals, United Nations medals are worn in order of the date an individual qualified for each award.
Recipients of New Zealand Gallantry Awards for their actions in East Timor while serving on a United Nations mission
Awarded the New Zealand Gallantry Star
- Colonel Neville John REILLY, O.N.Z.M. (T30975), Colonels' List, New Zealand Army - year of acts: 1999; year of award: 2000
Awarded the New Zealand Gallantry Decoration
- Private (now Trooper) Phillip Murray CHEATER (X1003534), Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment - date of act: 24 July 2000; year of award: 2005
- Squadron Leader Logan Charles CUDBY (J92445), Royal New Zealand Air Force - year of acts: 1999; year of award: 2000
Awarded the New Zealand Gallantry Medal
- Corporal Gerald Stewart FENTON (K55577), Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment - date of act: 10 August 2000; year of award: 2005
Recipients of New Zealand Gallantry Awards for their actions while serving on other United Nations missions recognised by the United Nations Medal
Awarded the New Zealand Gallantry Decoration
- Lieutenant Colonel John Charles DYER (P49877), Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery - date of acts: 6 January 1999; location of acts: Sierra Leone; year of award: 2000; United Nations mission and ribbon: United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone (UNOMSIL)
- Chief Petty Officer Writer (now Retired) John Clinton Lionel OXENHAM (W22215), Royal New Zealand Navy - year of acts: 1992; location of acts: Cambodia; year of award: 1999; United Nations mission and ribbon: United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC)
Media statements or NZDF feature stories concerning service by New Zealand personnel on United Nations missions recognised by the United Nations Medal
- 25 May 2012 - Defence Force personnel take up United Nations role in Syria
- 25 July 2011 - Wellington Naval Reservists service in Sudan and Solomons recognised in medal awards
- 30 December 2009 - An update from UNMIS (Sudan) - Lieutenant Andrew Wilson, RNZN
- 1 November 2009 - A Navy man in Sudan - Lieutenant Andrew Wilson, RNZN
- 15 July 2008 - New Zealand Defence Force officer to assist UN in Darfur
- 4 September 2007 - United Nations Military Observers (UNMOs) in Sudan
- 30 June 2005 - NZDF withdraws from Mozambique and Sierra Leone