17 December 2007 - Medals to Recognise Service in Timor-Leste and the Solomon Islands
12 December 2007 - Comptroller of Customs Welcomes New Medals For Customs Officers
12 December 2007 - Elliott Medal Group Loaned to Army Museum
11 December 2007 - New Medal for Customs Officers
10 December 2007 - Operation Valour - Investigating Medal Theft from Waiouru Army Museum
2 December 2007 - Theft of Medals from Waiouru Army Museum
1 October 2007 - Vietnam Veterans to get Further Recognition
11 September 2007 - Willie the Medal Man Calls it a Day
2 July 2007 - NZSAS Gallantry in Afghanistan recognised
23 May 2007 - NZSAS Honoured with US Service Ribbon
21 May 2007 - Changes to QSO and QSM Honours affect Governor-General
30 April 2007 - New medal to recognise service in Timor-Leste
22 March 2007 - Presentation of NZ Special Service Medal (Erebus)
17 December 2007
The Governor-General has approved a new medal to recognise New Zealanders' service in Timor-Leste, and has approved an expansion of the range of service in the Solomon Islands that is eligible for medallic recognition, Prime Minister Helen Clark and Defence Minister Phil Goff announced today.
Helen Clark said the New Zealand General Service Medal (NZGSM) (Timor-Leste) is to be awarded to New Zealand Defence Force and New Zealand Police personnel who have served in Timor-Leste since 28 April 2006, providing stability and security following the outbreak of violence in April and May of that year.
"The NZGSM (Timor-Leste) will be awarded to more than 600 New Zealand Defence Force and to 87 New Zealand Police personnel. At the present time, over 170 New Zealand Defence Force personnel and 23 New Zealand Police personnel are deployed to Timor-Leste", Helen Clark said.
Phil Goff said New Zealanders were first deployed to East Timor in 1999. This service was recognised with the award of The East Timor Medal. The Governor-General has agreed that the end date for eligibility for that medal will be 27 April 2006.
"New Zealanders currently serving in Timor-Leste are on a different mission and it is appropriate that this service is recognised with a different medal", Phil Goff said.
The colours of the ribbon for the NZGSM (Timor-Leste) are red, yellow, black and white, which are the colours of the National Flag of the Democratic Republic of East Timor / Timor-Leste.
The NZGSM (Timor-Leste) Regulations 2007 can be viewed on the following page of the NZDF Medals website: http://medals.nzdf.mil.nz/warrants/c8d-Timor-reg.html
Helen Clark and Phil Goff also announced that the Governor-General has approved a revised version of the Regulations for the NZGSM (Solomon Islands).
Helen Clark said the amended Regulations permit this medal to be awarded to approximately 250 additional Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) personnel. These personnel served on HMNZ Ships Te Kaha and Te Mana off Honiara in 2000 and 2001, during the peace talks between the warring factions, and in support of the subsequent International Peace Monitoring Team.
Phil Goff said the extension of entitlement is recognition that a significant level of threat to all deployed personnel existed throughout the Solomon Islands operational area in 2000 and 2001, rather than the threat being restricted to only land-based service.
The relevant dates of service of on HMNZ Ships Te Kaha and Te Mana off Honiara are:
HMNZS Te Mana - 10 June 2000 to 21 June 2000 (12 days)
HMNZS Te Kaha - 21 June 2000 to 6 July 2000 (16 days)
HMNZS Te Kaha - 24 August 2000 to 13 September 2000 (21 days)
HMNZS Te Mana - 27 April 2001 to 14 May 2001 (18 days)
Personnel who completed two or more of the above periods of service off Honiara, and who accumulated 30 days' operational service, qualify for the award of the NZGSM (Solomon Islands).
Personnel who only completed one of the above periods of service off Honiara do not qualify for the award of the NZGSM (Solomon Islands), but do qualify for the award of the New Zealand Operational Service Medal (NZOSM), for between 7 days' and 29 days' operational service in the Solomon Islands, if they have not already been awarded the NZOSM for other service.
Headquarters New Zealand Defence Force will arrange for the presentation of the NZGSM (Timor-Leste) and NZGSM (Solomon Islands) to eligible currently-serving military and police personnel. Eligible persons who have left the New Zealand Defence Force or the New Zealand Police should apply in writing to the Staff Officer Medals, The Medals Office, Headquarters New Zealand Defence Force, Private Bag 905, Upper Hutt.
12 December 2007
Comptroller of Customs Martyn Dunne says the striking of a new Customs' medal is due recognition for the work and service of Customs officers and their role in protecting the border and facilitating legitimate trade and travel. The new medals were announced yesterday by Prime Minister Helen Clark and Customs Minister Nanaia Mahuta.
"This medal recognises that the nature and complexity of our role has changed and that our frontline officers are facing more risk than ever before in the execution of their duties," he said.
Mr Dunne says while the fundamental role of Customs in protecting New Zealand's border has remained steadfast, the operating environment for the organisation overall, and for frontline officers in particular, has become increasingly complex and dangerous.
"Customs protects New Zealand's community by managing risks at the border, and by identifying and intercepting persons, goods and craft that pose a threat. That puts our people at some risk, and while we manage that and are well prepared and trained for it, it is good to have this recognition from those we serve."
Mr Dunne says the medal would be awarded to officers with 14 years' service, conduct and contribution as a frontline officer, with clasps to the medal awarded for each subsequent seven years' service.
The first presentations will be made mid-2008.
The 11 December 2007 announcement of the New Zealand Customs Service Medal by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Customs can be viewed below.
Update 1 May 2008: The position of the New Zealand Customs Service Medal in the New Zealand Order of Wear is between the New Zealand Traffic Service Medal and the Efficiency Decoration.
12 December 2007
Doug Elliott has loaned his family medal group, which his father Keith Elliott VC had worn from approximately 1965 until his death in 1989, to be used by the Army Museum until the stolen medals are returned. For full details of the news item about Doug Elliott please see the media releases section of the NZDF website.
11 December 2007
Prime Minister Helen Clark and Customs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced that The Queen has approved the institution of the New Zealand Customs Service Medal.
“The New Zealand Customs Service was established in 1840 and is one of New Zealand's oldest government departments.
“Over the years the challenges and risks facing Customs Officers have changed. Frontline officers are now involved in preventing activities such as drug smuggling, international organized crime, and people smuggling.
“The New Zealand Customs Service Medal recognizes the special nature and scope of the work of our Customs officers and the significant contribution they make to New Zealand’s border security,” Helen Clark said
Nanaia Mahuta said that the Customs medal aligns Customs officers, and the importance of their work, with other uniformed services such as Police, Fire and Defence, who all have similar medals.
“To have a specific New Zealand Customs Service Medal approved by The Queen is a great honour for the Service and is a significant event in the long and distinguished history of the New Zealand Customs Service”, Nanaia Mahuta said.
The New Zealand Customs Service Medal has been designed by the New Zealand Herald of Arms Extraordinary, Mr Phillip O’Shea, CNZM, LVO.
10 December 2007
Operation Valour is the name the New Zealand Police have given their investigation into the theft of the precious medals from the Waiouru Army Museum on 2 December 2007. Latest information can be accessed at the media section of the NZDF website.
Images of the stolen medals, and photos of the soldiers who were awarded these medals, can be viewed on the image gallery of the NZDF website.
2 December 2007
Information on the theft of medals from the Waiouru Army Museum on 2 December 2007 can be found here. Amongst the medals stolen were nine Victoria Crosses, two George Crosses, and one Albert Medal.
2 December 2007
Defence Minister Phil Goff has described the theft of military medals including nine Victoria Crosses and two George Cross medals as a crime against the nation.
The medals were stolen from the Army Museum in Waiouru at around 1am today.
“These medals are national treasures. They were earned by men who served their country with courage and selflessness,” Phil Goff said.
“New Zealanders will be appalled and disgusted at the greed and self interest of those who have stolen the medals.
“Every effort possible will be made to recover the medals. They will be almost impossible to sell within New Zealand and we will be working with Interpol to make it as hard as possible to market them internationally.
“I would urge anyone with knowledge of the whereabouts of the medals or of who stole them to contact the police with that information,” Phil Goff said.
1 October 2007
More Vietnam War veterans are going to be entitled to further recognition for their service.
Acting Prime Minister Jim Anderton told the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association's annual meeting in Wellington today that the Government has agreed to extend the eligibility for the New Zealand General Service Medal 1992 (Warlike), with clasp "Vietnam" to those veterans who are currently eligible for the Vietnam Medal.
The Government's decision is a key part of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government and representatives of Vietnam veterans, the RNZRSA and the Ex-Vietnam Services Association, signed in December last year.
The New Zealand General Service Medal 1992 (Warlike) with clasp "Vietnam" will be awarded to New Zealand military personnel, and accredited members of approved New Zealand philanthropic organisations, who served in Vietnam between 1 December 1962 and 27 January 1973, and who have already been awarded the Vietnam Medal.
Jim Anderton told the RNZRSA that new regulations for the New Zealand General Service Medal 1992 are being prepared and they will give effect to the decision shortly.
"The Memorandum of Understanding the Government signed with the RSA recognised that Vietnam veterans were exposed to a toxic environment. It also reflected public acknowledgement of the service performed by all New Zealand Vietnam veterans.
"So this decision is an important step in addressing Vietnam veterans' grievances as we move towards Tribute 08, to be held on Queens Birthday weekend next year. Tribute 08 will acknowledge the service of the veterans and the sacrifices of their families. "
The Government has also agreed to review certain historic forms of non-operational military service which may merit medallic recognition, but that has not otherwise received it.
"This review was prompted by the RNZRSA's proposal for a new 'Medal for Service'," Jim Anderton told the National Council.
11 September 2007
On 27 August 2007, Willie Walker, the Staff Officer Medals since 1992, retired. More information on Willie Walker's career and retirement can be found in the Army News article published about Willie Walker on 11 September 2007.
2 July 2007
Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today that The Queen has conferred New Zealand Gallantry Awards on four members of the New Zealand Special Air Service (NZSAS). The Victoria Cross for New Zealand (VC) has been awarded to Corporal Bill (Willie) Apiata.
Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today that The Queen has conferred the following New Zealand Gallantry Awards on four members of the New Zealand Special Air Service (NZSAS):
The Victoria Cross for New Zealand has been awarded to Corporal Bill (Willie) Apiata.
The New Zealand Gallantry Decoration has been awarded to two members of the New Zealand Special Air Service.
The New Zealand Gallantry Medal has been awarded to one member of the New Zealand Special Air Service.
Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that she was delighted that The Queen has approved the award of the Victoria Cross to a member of the New Zealand Special Air Service (NZSAS) for his actions in saving the life of a comrade under heavy fire from opposing forces.
Three other gallantry decorations are also being awarded to members of the NZSAS. All four decorations have been awarded for actions in Afghanistan in 2004.
"The Victoria Cross for New Zealand is the supreme military award for valour. This is the first Victoria Cross for New Zealand to be awarded since it was instituted in 1999. This decoration continues the tradition of the Victoria Cross previously awarded under a British Royal Warrant to members of the New Zealand military since 1860, the last of which was awarded in 1946," Helen Clark said.
"The Victoria Cross for New Zealand resembles the British Victoria Cross in appearance and manufacture and is equally hard to win.
"Corporal Bill (Willie) Apiata of the NZSAS has been awarded the Victoria Cross for New Zealand for his actions in saving the life of a comrade under heavy fire from opposing forces.
"Briefly, Corporal Apiata carried a severely wounded fellow soldier across open ground while coming under intense attack. He did this despite the extreme danger to himself.
"This brave action saved his comrade's life. Further details of his actions are available in the citation which is in the media statement from the Governor-General.
"Corporal Apiata was born in the Waikato in 1972. He began his army career in 1989 when he joined the Hauraki Regiment of the New Zealand Army as a territorial (part-time) soldier.
"In 2000 he served as a member of the 3rd Battalion Group in East Timor as part of the United Nation's operations there. On his return in April 2001, he became a full time soldier, transferring to the regular force of the New Zealand Army. In November 2001 he passed the gruelling NZSAS selection course and joined the unit the following year.
"Corporal Apiata’s VC is the 14th awarded since the end of World War Two and the first to a serving member of the SAS anywhere in the Commonwealth.
"Corporal Apiata becomes one of only 13 living recipients of the VC. Private Johnson Beharry, a member of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment in the British Army, received the VC for gallantry in Iraq in 2004 and is the only other VC recipient still serving in the military.
"Corporal Apiata will be invested with the Victoria Cross for New Zealand by the Governor-General, the Hon Anand Satyanand, at a special ceremony to be held at Government House, Wellington later this month.
"The New Zealand Gallantry Decoration has been awarded to two other members of 1 NZSAS Group, identified only as Captain C and Corporal B. Their awards are for 'an exceptional act of gallantry and leadership under fire' and 'displaying outstanding courage and leadership' respectively.
"The New Zealand Gallantry Medal has been awarded to a member of the unit identified only as Corporal R for 'gallantry and the application of firm and timely leadership'.
"All awards announced today are for gallantry in action in Afghanistan in 2004 and are testimony to the dedication, skill and professionalism of the NZSAS, " Helen Clark said.
Defence Minister Phil Goff said that New Zealanders can be proud of the extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of their duties by members of the NZSAS.
"The VC and the Gallantry Awards bestowed on Corporal Apiata and his three fellow soldiers reflect both the courage and the character of the individuals concerned but also the ethos and the high standards and training of the unit itself.
"The VC honours a man who put his own life at risk to save the life of a comrade. All of the honours reflect exceptional courage and leadership, and the commitment members of the NZSAS have to each other and to the tasks they are sent to do on behalf of New Zealand.
"They are modest about their achievements but they have contributed to an already proud tradition of military service by the NZSAS and a reputation for being ordinary people doing extraordinary jobs", Phil Goff said.
The full text of Prime Minister Helen Clark's speech on 2 July 2007 can be viewed here.
23 May 2007
Members of the 1st New Zealand Special Air Service (NZSAS) who served in Afghanistan were honoured with a special United States service ribbon presented by Minister of Defence Phil Goff earlier today.
The ribbon denotes the United States Navy Presidential Unit Citation presented to the NZSAS by US President George Bush in December 2004.
The citation was presented in recognition of NZSAS service with the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force (CJSOTF) in Afghanistan over the period December 2001 to May 2002.
The citation was awarded for “extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of duty in action” in Afghanistan from 17 October 2001 until 20 March 2002.
It noted that those awarded established “benchmark standard of professionalism, tenacity, courage, tactical brilliance, and operational brilliance, and operational excellence while demonstrating superb esprit de corps and maintaining the highest measures of combat readiness.”
Members of the NZSAS who served with the CJSOTF can wear the ribbon of the United States Navy Presidential Unit Citation on their uniforms. Other members of the NZSAS who were not in Afghanistan during the period specified can also wear the ribbon while serving with the Unit.
The full text of Minister of Defence Phil Goff's speech on 23 May 2007 can be viewed here.
Further information on the Approval for the Acceptance and Wear of the United States Navy Presidential Unit Citation for Service by the NZ SAS in Afghanistan, can be viewed here.
21 May 2007
Prime Minister Helen Clark and Defence Minister Phil Goff today announced that The Queen has approved the institution of the New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration (DSD).
“The DSD will recognise distinguished military service by regular, territorial and reserve members of the New Zealand Defence Force, including command, leadership, and service in an operational environment, or in support of operations,” Helen Clark said.
“Until 1995 this type of service was recognised by awards of the British Empire Medal (Military Division) and the lower levels of the Military Division of the Order of the British Empire. Since the change to a totally New Zealand Honours system in 1996, awards at these levels have not been available," Phil Goff said.
“With the high level of operational activity being undertaken by the New Zealand Defence Force, the Distinguished Service Decoration is an important addition to the New Zealand Honours system. It will enjoy precedence comparable to that of The Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) and the recently instituted New Zealand Antarctic Medal (NZAM)," Mr Goff said.
"The first awards will be announced in the forthcoming Queen’s Birthday Honours list on Monday 4 June. Recipients will be entitled to use the initials “DSD.” and will receive their awards at the regular investitures at Government House," Helen Clark said.
"The new Decoration will be made of Sterling Silver. The obverse design is a representation of eight blades of a kotiate (lobed club) in a circle with a Royal Crown in the centre. The front four blades of the kotiate are in frosted silver, and the rear blades are polished silver. The reverse bears the inscription “For Distinguished Service” in English and Maori. The ribbon is dark blue and red, similar to the colours of the British Distinguished Service Order ribbon, with two narrow yellow stripes that signify achievement," Helen Clark said.
The DSD has been designed by the New Zealand Herald of Arms Extraordinary, Mr Phillip O’Shea, CNZM, LVO.
21 May 2007
"When the QSO and QSM were instituted in 1975, both had two sub-divisions; “for Community Service” to recognise voluntary service to the community, and “for Public Services” to recognise service through elected and appointed office," Helen Clark said.
"In 1995 the Prime Minister’s Honours Advisory Committee recommended that the QSO and QSM be retained, but reconstituted without the sub-divisions should a New Zealand Order of Merit be instituted.
"The New Zealand Order of Merit was subsequently instituted in 1996. Now that the two systems have been operating side by side for over 10 years, it has been decided that it is timely to adopt the Committee’s original recommendation to remove the sub-divisions.
"The designs of the badge of the QSO and QSM have been slightly amended to reflect the changes. The effigy of The Queen will be the same as that used on other New Zealand medals, and the inscriptions on both the badge of the Order and on the Medal will read “FOR SERVICE” and “MŌ NGA MAHI NUI”.
"The new Royal Warrant will be published shortly and the first appointments to the QSO and awards of the QSM under the new Warrant will be made in the forthcoming Queen’s Birthday Honours List, to be announced on Monday 4 June.
"Under the old Royal Warrant, the Governor-General was ex-officio Principal Companion of the Order, but was not a member of the Order. The new Royal Warrant now provides for the appointment of a Governor-General to be a Companion of the Order in his or her own right.
"As a consequence of this change, The Queen has approved the appointment of the Governor-General, The Honourable Anand Satyanand, PCNZM to be an Additional Companion of The Queen’s Service Order," Helen Clark said.
30 April 2007
Prime Minister Helen Clark and Defence Minister Phil Goff today announced a new medal to recognise New Zealanders' service in the current deployment to Timor-Leste.
Helen Clark said that the New Zealand General Service Medal (Timor-Leste) is to be awarded to New Zealand Defence Force and New Zealand Police personnel who have served in Timor-Leste to provide stability and security since the outbreak of violence last April and May.
"New Zealanders were first deployed to East Timor in 1999 to help establish the stable conditions which enabled the nation of Timor-Leste to be built. This service was recognised with the award of The East Timor Medal. The end date eligibility for that medal will now be 27 April 2006.
"New Zealanders currently serving in Timor-Leste are on a different mission and as such, it is appropriate that this service is recognised with a different medal.
"New Zealand personnel have encountered many challenges in trying conditions over the past year. They have met these challenges and have played an important role in Timor-Leste's journey towards peace and stability. This medal will be a fitting recognition of these efforts.
"Eligibility criteria for the medal are being finalised and will require the assent of the Governor-General before awards can be made. It is anticipated that the first awards of the New Zealand General Service Medal (Timor-Leste) will be made in the second half of this year," Helen Clark said.
Phil Goff said that the New Zealand General Service Medal was instituted in 2002 and is awarded for operational service commenced since 1 January 2000.
"Each award consists of a standard medal suspended from a specially-designed ribbon which denotes the specific operation for which the award has been made. The General Service Medal is currently awarded for service in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Solomon Islands.
"The ribbon for the new medal incorporates the national colours of both Timor-Leste and New Zealand in a pattern of red, yellow, black, and white stripes," Phil Goff said.
22 March 2007
Twenty two individuals involved in the response to the 28 November 1979 Mount Erebus crash of Flight TE 901 are today becoming the first to receive the New Zealand Special Service Medal (Erebus).
Police Minister Annette King is making the presentation at a Parliamentary ceremony from 3pm today. A number of other people will also receive the medal at separate ceremonies around the country over coming months.
Ms King says the NZSSM is being presented to people representing a range of organisations and agencies from police and defence staff to forensic pathologists, air accident staff, mortuary technicians and a member of the media.
"On the 28th of November last year – the 27th anniversary of the crash – Prime Minister Helen Clark, Defence Minister Phil Goff and I announced the NZSSM would be awarded to police and other personnel involved with the body recovery, crash investigation and victim identification phases associated with Operation Overdue,” she said.
"This medal recognises the work of extraordinary individuals who undertook the recovery, investigation and identification work in the aftermath of the Erebus disaster, an unparalleled tragedy in our history."
Ms King says the NZ Special Service Medal was instituted by the Government in 2002 to ‘recognise service or work for New Zealand in very difficult, adverse, extreme or hazardous circumstances that fall outside the boundaries of what individuals could normally expect as part of their routine duties or work.’
"The work of personnel involved in the Mt Erebus phase of ‘Operation Overdue’ far exceeded the boundaries of what could be expected in the course of normal police, search and rescue, or air accident investigation duties. The medal also recognises the traumatic demands faced by those who worked to successfully identify 214 of the 257 victims. Their complex work was exhaustive, painstaking, and innovative --- setting a world standard for victim identification.”
The NZSSM was last awarded in 2005 to recognise New Zealanders, including many police, who were involved in rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts in areas devastated by the Boxing Day 2004 earthquake and tsunami.
Further presentations ceremonies will be held in Christchurch on 30 March, Wellington on 5 April, and Auckland on 27 May. These presentations will be organised by New Zealand Police National Headquarters, Wellington.
LOCATION OF SERVICE: ICE RECOVERY
New Zealand Police
Inspector Gregory James Gilpin
Inspector Stuart Barlass Leighton
Retired Superintendent Robert Stronach Mitchell
Retired Sergeant Mark Anthony Penn
Office of Air Accident Investigations
New Zealand Airline Pilots Association
Captain Peter Macdonald Rhodes
Dr John Ross Keys
New Zealand Antarctic Research Programme
Dr Hugh Francis Malcolm Logan
New Zealand Defence Force
Retired Warrant Officer Raymond Colin Symons
Retired Warrant Officer Dennis Anthony Nathan
New Zealand Press Association
LOCATION OF SERVICE: AUCKLAND MORTUARY
New Zealand Police
Inspector Alastair Bruce Williams
Inspector Bruce Edward Blayney
Sergeant Allan Donald Cantley
Senior Constable Alan Robert Campbell
Retired Constable Catherine Ann Ahuriri
Retired Sergeant Graham Charles Webby
Retired Constable Trefor Jones
New Zealand Funeral Directors Association
Peter Alexander Strong
Edward John Russell
Dr Maurice Craig Churton
Dr Timothy David Koelmeyer
This page was last reviewed 9 January, 2018 and is current.