New Zealand Defence Service Medal -
How to apply for the New Zealand Defence Service Medal
To apply for this medal please complete NZDF Personnel Archives and Medals Form No. 1 - MD1050.
About the New Zealand Defence Service Medal
The New Zealand Defence Service Medal (NZDSM) was instituted in April 2011 to recognise attested military service since 3 September 1945. The Royal Warrant for the NZDSM allows for one or more clasps to be awarded with the medal. The number of clasps awarded to an individual will be determined by the type(s) of military service undertaken by the individual. There are four clasps which can be awarded with the NZDSM: REGULAR (image shown above), TERRITORIAL, C.M.T. and NATIONAL SERVICE.
The normal required qualifying service is:
|Clasp||Normal Required Qualifying Service|
3 years Regular Force service since 3 September 1945. The service can be accumulated or continuous.
Note 1: Personnel who completed an initial Regular Force engagement of 12 months or more duration which began after 3 September 1945 are also eligible.
Note 2: Personnel who completed 2 years of Regular Force service and 1 efficient training year in the Territorial Forces of New Zealand will qualify for the NZDSM with 'REGULAR' Clasp.
3 efficient training years in the Territorial Forces of New Zealand (Army, Navy or Air Force) since 3 September 1945. The efficient training years can be accumulated or continuous.
Note 1: Personnel who completed an initial Territorial Force engagement of 12 months or more duration which began after 3 September 1945 are also eligible.
Note 2: Personnel who completed 1 year of Regular Force service and 2 efficient training years in the Territorial Forces of New Zealand will qualify for the NZDSM with 'TERRITORIAL' Clasp.
Completion of the individual's obligations under the Military Training Act 1949 and Amendments
Historic Note: There were 27 intakes of Compulsory Military Training personnel between May 1950 and July 1958, with the scheme formally closed in March 1959. About 63,000 men served on Compulsory Military Training.
Completion of the individual's obligations under the National Military Service Act 1961 and Amendments
Historic Note: Training under the National Service scheme ran from May 1962 to December 1972. More than 28,000 men served on National Service.
There are also a range of special case criteria for deserving service of less than 3 years. For example:
1. Those Second World War personnel who were still serving (in New Zealand or overseas) on or after 3 September 1946 (i.e. 12 months after the end of hostilities); and
2. J Force and K Force personnel who completed their obligations for service in Japan or Korea.
See the What service does the new medal recognise? FAQ and the Regulations for the New Zealand Defence Service Medal for more information on the special case criteria.
At least 160,000 NZ ex-Service persons are eligible to receive the NZDSM. This has been the largest medal issue project New Zealand has undertaken since 1950-1954 when the majority of the Second World War medals were issued.
As at 28 January 2016, more than 59,000 medals have been issued to ex-Service persons. In addition, more than 11,000 NZDSMs have been issued to currently serving NZDF military personnel.
The award of the NZDSM does not qualify a recipient for the award of the New Zealand Operational Service Medal.
The design of the medal
The NZDSM is a bronze medal with an antique finish suspended from a dark blue, red, light blue and light green ribbon. On the obverse is the New Zealand Coat of Arms, which is the symbol of the Crown and Executive Arm of Government, and which indicates that the medal specifically recognises service on behalf of New Zealand.
The reverse side has on the right one large New Zealand fern frond. On the left are the emblems of the Navy, Army and Air Force - the Naval crown, crossed swords and eagle. These are the main elements of the Badge of the New Zealand Defence Force. The two fern fronds which normally form part of the Badge of New Zealand have been omitted to avoid the inference that the medal is an NZDF one, as opposed to a Royal Medal. Also many of the recipients will have served in the armed forces prior to the formation of the NZ Defence Force. In the lower section of the reverse are the words "THE NEW ZEALAND DEFENCE SERVICE MEDAL".
The New Zealand Herald of Arms, Mr Phillip O’Shea, LVO, designed the NZDSM and its ribbon. Mr O’Shea has designed most New Zealand awards instituted since 1973 including the Queen’s Service Order and the New Zealand Order of Merit, and campaign medals such as the New Zealand General Service Medal 1992, New Zealand General Service Medal 2002 and the East Timor Medal, as well as the New Zealand Operational Service Medal.
About the ribbon
The medal ribbon reflects the colours of the Navy, Army and Air Force as dark blue, red and light blue respectively. Light green stripes have been added between these colour stripes to reflect the volunteer and territorial elements of the Services.
When only ribbons are worn, a small silver rosette is worn on the NZDSM ribbon to represent the award of a second Clasp. Two small silver rosettes are worn on the ribbon to represent the award of three Clasps.
The Royal Warrant for the New Zealand Defence Service Medal for the New Zealand Defence Service Medal can be viewed / downloaded as a pdf file (80 kb). The Regulations can be viewed as text / html at http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2011/0088/latest/DLM3590801.html (on the Parliamentary Counsel Office's New Zealand Legislation website).
The Regulations for the New Zealand Defence Service Medal can be viewed / downloaded as a pdf file (101 kb). The Regulations can be viewed as text / html at http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2011/0119/latest/DLM3650601.html (on the Parliamentary Counsel Office's New Zealand Legislation website).
Clasps and Bars
If a person qualifies for more than one clasp, the first clasp qualified for is worn closest to the medal and suspender (i.e. at the bottom of the ribbon). The second clasp qualified for is worn above the first clasp. The third clasp qualified for is worn above the second clasp. E.g. if someone completed C.M.T. in 1954, then served in the Regular Force for three years or more, then transferred to the Territorial Force and was efficient for three or more Training Years the clasps would look like this:
TERRITORIAL (highest on the ribbon)
C.M.T. (nearest to the medal / lowest on the ribbon)
Order of Wear
The position of this medal in the Wearing of Medals in New Zealand Table can be viewed here.
- Most popular FAQs about the NZ Defence Service Medal:
- When can I apply for the new medal?
- What service does the new medal recognise?
To apply for the NZDSM please complete NZDF Personnel Archives and Medals Form No. 1 - MD1050.
Media Statements concerning the New Zealand Defence Service Medal
- 23 September 2013 - Over 54,000 NZ Defence Service Medals issued so far
- 5 March 2013 - Over 49,000 NZ Defence Service Medals issued so far
- 17 October 2012 - Past honoured at medals presentation
- 17 October 2012 - Daughter stoked with medal for Dad
- 4 October 2012 - Over 43,000 NZ Defence Service Medals issued so far
- 26 July 2012 - Defence Service Medal now available to all ex-Service personnel
- 14 June 2012 - Revised application forms for the NZ Defence Service Medal
- 16 March 2012 - Over 24,800 NZDSMs issued
- 21 December 2011 - Over 18,000 NZDSMs issued
- 18 October 2011 - New medal now available for those fifty and over
- 17 August 2011 - Sixty year olds can now apply for new medal
- 3 May 2011 - Applications flood in for NZ Defence Service Medal
- 15 April 2011 - Applications open for New NZ Defence Service Medal
- 8 April 2011 - First of new Defence medals to be presented on 14 April
- 11 October 2010 - New Defence Force medal announced