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2008 Archived MEDALS NEWS

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4 December 2008 - 2000th NZGSM (Afghanistan) primary operational area approved

10 November 2008 - Willie Apiata VC - The Reluctant Hero

30 October 2008 - New Zealand VC honoured in Belgium - Lance Corporal Leslie Andrew VC (First World War)

28 October 2008 - Strong interest in returned medals

21 October 2008 - Medals return home to the Army Museum in Waiouru

15 October 2008 - Two men charged with war medals theft

15 September 2008 - Christchurch VC honoured in Belgium - Sergeant Henry James Nicholas VC (First World War)

11 September 2008 - New medals to recognise service in Korea since 1958

25 August 2008 - Date set for Gallantry Medals return to Waiouru

4 August 2008 - New Zealand Red Cross search locates Vietnam welfare officers

3 June 2008 - NZDF Personnel named in Queen's Birthday Honours 2008

27 May 2008 - Viet Nam Theatre Honours for two Army companies

16 May 2008 - NZDF Personnel to be recognised for service in Vietnam

4 May 2008 - Border Control Officials recognised

24 April 2008 - Willie Apiata gifts Victoria Cross to New Zealand

15 April 2008 - Presentation at the Beehive of the New Zealand General Service Medal (Timor-Leste)

2 April 2008 - Chief of Air Force invested with ONZM

27 March 2008 - Investiture Ceremonies - 1, 2 and 4 April 2008

29 February 2008 - Medal for Vietnam veterans - applications called for

29 February 2008 - Operation Valour Appeal

26 February 2008 - Assistant Director Medals Policy leaves HQNZDF after three and a half years' service

18 February 2008 - Prime Minister praises Police efforts

16 February 2008 - Chief of Army praises Operation Valour team

16 February 2008 - Stolen War Medals Recovered - New Zealand Police media release

 - with images of the stolen medals, and photos of the soldiers who were awarded these medals

15 February 2008 - Phil Goff welcomes Recovery of National Treasures

17 January 2008 - Largest Reward Offered for Return of Stolen Medals

17 January 2008 - Medal Reward Welcomed

7 January 2008 - New Year Honours for NZDF Personnel

2000th NZGSM (Afghanistan) primary operational area approved

4 December 2008

On 14 November 2008, the 2000th award of the New Zealand General Service Medal (Afghanistan) primary operational area was approved for operational service since 18 December 2001 in Afghanistan.

Another 800 personnel have been awarded the NZGSM (Afghanistan) secondary operational area for operational service in other countries and seas near Afghanistan which has supported, directly or indirectly, the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) efforts in Afghanistan.

As at 4 December 2008, more than 140 NZDF personnel are serving in Afghanistan.

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Willie Apiata VC - The Reluctant Hero

10 November 2008

Information on the new book Willie Apiata VC - The Reluctant Hero has been published on the NZDF website.

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New Zealand VC honoured in Belgium - Lance Corporal Leslie Andrew VC (First World War)

30 October 2008

On Sunday 26 October beside a quiet road in the small, unassuming village of Warneton, Belgium a commemorative plaque to Lance Corporal Leslie Andrew VC was unveiled by the New Zealand Ambassador to Belgium, His Excellency Peter Kennedy. As with the Private Nicholas VC unveiling in September, a contingent from New Zealand Defence Staff in London travelled to Belgium to support the ceremony.  The full New Zealand Defence Force media release has been published on the NZDF website.

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Strong Interest in Returned Medals

28 October 2008

Good crowds were experienced by the QEII Army Memorial Museum over Labour Weekend (25 to 27 October) with almost 1500 visitors making the trip to Waiouru over the three days.

Visitors expressed strong interest in seeing New Zealand’s medals of valour in honour with many making a special trip to the Museum to do so. The medals are housed in a newly built Valour Alcove at the Museum.

The medals were returned last Tuesday in a moving ceremony attended by over 80 family members of the original medal recipients.

The Museum’s Director, Colonel Ray Seymour, said staff are delighted to have New Zealand’s treasures and taonga back in their place of honour and on public display in this memorial museum.

Colonel Seymour said he wanted to extend a “big thank you” to all the people who supported the museum and have sent many messages of support over the last week.

For more information please see www.armymuseum.co.nz and/or contact Nicola Bennett, Marketing Manager, phone (06) 387 6911.

Related news item:

21 October 2008 - Medals return home to the Army Museum in Waiouru

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Medals return home to the Army Museum in Waiouru

21 October 2008

The New Zealand Army is today celebrating the return of the 96 gallantry medals to the Army Museum Waiouru. All 12 medal sets will be placed in the Valour Alcove by midday today and the public will be able to view them from 1pm.

“The Army Museum Waiouru is the home for New Zealand’s Army military heritage and taonga. It is fantastic that we can celebrate the return and display of these medal sets for all New Zealanders to enjoy once again,” Chief of Army Major General Lou Gardiner said.

The handing back of the medals into the Museum’s care begins with a powhiri at the New Zealand Army National Marae this morning at 7am. The medals will be blessed and three local Iwi from the area, Ngati Rangi, Ngati Tuwharetoa and Ngati Tumatauenga will be represented.

At 9.30am the formal handover ceremony of the medals from the New Zealand Police to the Queen Elizabeth II Army Memorial Museum will take place.

The family members will then lodge their respective medal groups into the Valour Alcove in what’s expected to be the most emotional event of the day.

“The theft was a theft from the nation and we acknowledge the support of the New Zealand public in helping return these treasures home. It is their support and the public outcry that help brought about the successful return of the medals,“ said Maj Gen Gardiner.

“The Army and the Museum’s Trust are committed to its responsibility to care for, and display the medals on behalf of all New Zealanders, particularly those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.“

Visit the NZDF website for the full Medals Return Media Kit.

Images from the formal handover ceremony can also be found on the NZDF website.

Related news items:

15 October 2008 - Two men charged with war medals theft

29 February 2008 - Operation Valour Appeal

16 February 2008 - Stolen War Medals Recovered - New Zealand Police media release

10 December 2007 - Operation Valour - Investigating Medal Theft from Waiouru Army Museum

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Two men charged with war medals theft

15 October 2008

Two men have been arrested and charged today (Wednesday, 15 October) with burglary following the thefts in December last year of medals from the Army Museum in Waiouru.

The men are a 39-year-old from Te Atatu Peninsula and a 37-year-old from Waimauku. They have both been charged with burglary and will appear at Auckland District Court today.

The 37-year-old man has been further charged with 42 additional charges of fraud. These are separate charges unrelated to the Operation Valour; they relate to fraud investigations handled by the Auckland Police.

The officer in charge of Operation Valour, Detective Senior Sergeant Chris Bensemann, said: "The investigation has been extremely complex and sensitive; the detail of which will become clear in due course through the court process.

"To ensure the integrity of that process is protected, I am not in a position to comment any further on these arrests or the evidence on which the men have been charged.

"I would however like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has played their part in the investigation. The significance of the theft of the medals to the families of the soldiers, and New Zealand as a nation, has never been far from our minds. The return of the medals undamaged in February was wonderful news but these arrests are what the Operation Valour team have worked so hard to bring about.

"The New Zealand public should be extremely proud of the police staff who have meticulously and tirelessly gathered a wealth of information which has resulted in today's arrests."

Media enquiries should be referred to NZ Police Central District Communications Manager Kim Perks on 027 234 8256.

Related news items:

25 August 2008 - Date set for Gallantry Medals return to Waiouru

29 February 2008 - Operation Valour Appeal

16 February 2008 - Stolen War Medals Recovered - New Zealand Police media release

10 December 2007 - Operation Valour - Investigating Medal Theft from Waiouru Army Museum

 

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Christchurch VC honoured in Belgium - Sergeant Henry James Nicholas VC (First World War)

15 September 2008

New Zealand Defence Force personnel took part in the unveiling of a special plaque to honour Christchurch Victoria Cross holder, Sergeant Henry James Nicholas VC, in Belgium on Sunday 14 September.  The full New Zealand Defence Force media release has been published on the NZDF website.

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New medals to recognise service in Korea since 1958

11 September 2008

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Defence Minister Phil Goff today announced two new medals to recognise New Zealanders who served with the United Nations Command in the Republic of Korea since 1958.

The first medal will recognise service between 1958 and 2000; the second medal will be awarded to those who have served in the Republic of Korea since 2001.

Helen Clark said that the New Zealand General Service Medal 1992 (Non-Warlike) with clasp ‘Korea 1958-2000’ is to be awarded to the thirteen New Zealand military personnel who served in Korea with the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission (UNCMAC) between 1958 and 2000.

“The second medal is the New Zealand General Service Medal 2002 (Korea) for the more than forty New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel who have served in Korea with UNCMAC and the United Nations Command Honour Guard Company since 2001.

“The personnel to be recognised by these medals have worked to maintain military stability between the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Approximately half of the people eligible have monitored military activity in the Demilitarised Zone and in other parts of the Korean peninsular where they have investigated alleged violations of the Korean Armistice Agreement. The 23 Honour Guard Company personnel provided personal security for the UNC Commander-in-Chief in 2001 and 2003. The medals will be fitting recognition of these efforts,” Helen Clark said.

Phil Goff said that New Zealanders were first deployed to Korea in 1950 at the start of the Korean War, and large contingents of troops served there until 1957. Existing service medals recognise service between 1950 and 1957.

"New Zealanders who served in Korea between 1958 and 2000 were on a different mission from that of those who served between 1950 and 1957, and as such, it is appropriate that this service is recognised with a distinctive clasp.

“The breadth of the service by NZDF personnel in Korea changed considerably in 2001, when NZDF personnel were deployed to the United Nations Command Honour Guard Company. It is fitting that personnel who have served in Korea since 2001 receive an NZGSM 2002 for this service. The medal is awarded for operational service commenced after 1 January 2000.

"The approval process for both medals and has been completed with the assent of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Governor-General,” Phil Goff said.

“Eligible currently-serving New Zealand Defence Force personnel will be presented with their medals later this year. Eligible ex-military personnel, or their surviving spouse or families of deceased veterans, will be able to apply for their medals,” he said.

Enquiries and applications for medals should be made in writing to: The Medals Office, Headquarters New Zealand Defence Force, Private Bag 905, Upper Hutt 5140.

Further information on the two new medals and their ribbons can be found on the Background Information page for this media statement, and on the The New Zealand General Service Medal 1992 (Non-Warlike) and The New Zealand General Service Medal 2002 (Korea) pages of the NZDF Medals website.

Campaign Medals awarded to New Zealanders for service in Korea (dates of service in brackets)

* The Korea Medal (2 Jul 1950 to 27 Jul 1953)

* The United Nations Medal (Korea)  (1 Jul 1950 to 27 Jul 1954)

* The Korean War Service Medal  (25 Jun 1950 to 27 Jul 1953)  

* The New Zealand General Service Medal 1992 (Non-Warlike)

- with clasp "Korea 1954-57" (27 Jul 1954 to 31 Dec 1957)

- with clasp "Korea 1958-2000" (1 Jan 1958 to 31 Dec 2000)

* The New Zealand General Service Medal 2002 (Korea) (since 1 Jan 2001)

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Date set for Gallantry Medals return to Waiouru

25 August 2008

The gallantry medals stolen from the Army Museum Waiouru in December last year are to be returned in a formal ceremony to the Museum on 21 October, Chief of Army Major General Lou Gardiner said today.

“We are very excited in having the medals returned to their rightful home at the Army Museum Waiouru and the ceremony will acknowledge the professionalism and dedication of all those involved in their successful return, including the support of the New Zealand public,” Major General Gardiner said.

The returned medal sets include nine Victoria Crosses and two George Crosses which were stolen from Waiouru Army Museum in the early morning of 2 December 2007.

Related news items:

29 February 2008 - Operation Valour Appeal

16 February 2008 - Stolen War Medals Recovered - New Zealand Police media release

10 December 2007 - Operation Valour - Investigating Medal Theft from Waiouru Army Museum

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New Zealand Red Cross Search locates Vietnam welfare officers

4 August 2008

It took over 38 years, but New Zealand Red Cross welfare officer Avis Wilkes has been presented with the service medals she earned in recognition of her work during the Vietnam War.

The presentation was made at New Zealand Red Cross House in late May when Ms Wilkes visited Wellington to take part in celebrations for Tribute08, commemorating the service of New Zealanders during the Vietnam War.

Fellow New Zealand Red Cross welfare officer Isobel Beaumont has also been located. Ms Beaumont is currently living in Wales with her husband, a British airman whom she met in Vietnam.

New Zealand Red Cross began actively searching for Ms Wilkes and Ms Beaumont in April. While Ms Wilkes was uncovered living in Dunedin just hours after the search began, the search for Ms Beaumont was more intensive and was assisted by the New Zealand Police.

The whereabouts of Ms Beaumont was final revealed in June, following an article in the Timaru Herald as Ms Beaumont had been living in Timaru before her deployment to Vietnam with New Zealand Red Cross.

During the Vietnam War, Ms Wilkes and Ms Beaumont worked as welfare support personnel at hospitals in Changi in Singapore and Vung Tau in South Vietnam and were accredited to the New Zealand Army.

Miss Beaumont and Miss Wilkes are entitled to the New Zealand General Service Medal, with Vietnam clasp, and the New Zealand Operational Service Medal.

When Ms Wilkes visited New Zealand Red Cross offices for the presentation of her medals, she took time to reflect on her work in Vietnam.

All these years later, Ms Wilkes can clearly recall seeing the New Zealand Red Cross advertisement calling for welfare officers to travel to Vietnam. A trained social worker during the early 1970s, Ms Wilkes was based in Wellington and working with the Social Welfare Department but she wasn’t enjoying the job.

“I was interested in social work but I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into when I applied for the job. It was all an adventure,” said Ms Wilkes.

Although she admits to being surprised when first hearing that New Zealand Red Cross were searching for her, she describes the medal presentation and taking part in the Tribute08 commemorations as a great trip down memory lane.


[The above article is re-published from the July 2008 edition of Red Cross News. It is re-published with the permission of the New Zealand Red Cross National Office].

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NZDF Personnel named in Queen's Birthday Honours 2008

3 June 2008

On 2 June 2008, it was announced that eleven NZDF personnel will receive Queen's Birthday Honours. Details of the awards and recipients have been published on the NZDF and RNZAF websites:

- list of the eleven NZDF recipients

- more information on the two Royal New Zealand Navy recipients of the Queen's Birthday Honours 2008

- more information on the five New Zealand Army recipients of the Queen's Birthday Honours 2008

- more information on the four Royal New Zealand Air Force recipients of the Queen's Birthday Honours 2008

Images and background information on the honours and awards awarded to NZDF personnel in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2008 can be found on the following pages of the NZDF Medals website:

- The New Zealand Order of Merit page (which also features an image of the Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) )

- The Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) page

- The New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration (DSD) page

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Viet Nam Theatre Honours for two Army companies

27 May 2008

Two New Zealand Army infantry companies will this weekend be officially recognised for service in the Viet Nam War, with a change of the theatre honour dates for the 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (1RNZIR).

Her Majesty the Queen, acting on advice from Helen Clark, has extended the theatre honour for 1967-1970 to apply to service between May 1967 and December 1971, to cover the full infantry involvement in South Viet Nam.

“The extension to the 1RNZIR South Viet Nam Theatre Honour is a significant and historical step for the Battalion, the Regiment and those who served on operations with the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment during the Viet Nam War,” Phil Goff said.

“It is fitting recognition for the courage and commitment of all who served in that conflict.

“The previous South Viet Nam Theatre honour 1967-70 did not recognise the service of Victor Companies five and six to the end of 1971. Further, the terms under which the original honour was awarded did not include the service of Victor 1 Company, from May to December 1967.

“The honours extension is part of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government and Viet Nam Veterans signed on 7 December 2006. It comes as the Crown makes a formal apology to Viet Nam Veterans and their families for the manner in which their service and subsequent health concerns were not recognised,” Mr Goff said.

A handing over of the 1RNZIR Regimental Colour with the extended Viet Nam honour will formally take place in a ceremony at Tribute08 on Sunday, June 1.  The presentation will involve a Colour Guard from 1RNZIR, Mr Goff said.

The Tribute08: A Viet Nam Commemoration is being held in Wellington over Queen’s Birthday Weekend.

The event aims to increase recognition of Viet Nam veterans and families in the community and provide a vehicle to acknowledge the inadequate treatment given to veterans when they returned home in the early 1970s.

For more information on Tribute 08: A Viet Nam Commemoration please visit: www.tribute08.com.

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NZDF Personnel to be recognised for service in Vietnam

16 May 2008

Twenty-six New Zealand Defence Force personnel who served in Vietnam will be recognised for their service at a ceremony at Defence House in Wellington on Monday, May 19.

The 26 will be presented with the New Zealand General Service Medal (NZGSM) 1992 (Warlike) with clasp ‘Vietnam’ by the Chief of Army Major General Lou Gardiner and the Chief of Air Force Air-Vice Marshal Graham Lintott.

The 26 are a mixture of current New Zealand Army and Royal New Zealand Air Force personnel, and former servicemen and foreign affairs staff who are now civilian employees within the New Zealand Defence Force.

More than 3000 New Zealand Vietnam Veterans are eligible for the NZGSM with clasp ‘Vietnam’. The medal and clasp will also be available to the surviving spouse or family of eligible Vietnam veterans who are deceased.


Over 100 of the Vietnam veterans eligible for the NZGSM with clasp ‘Vietnam’ have chosen to be presented with it during Tribute08: A Vietnam Commemoration to be held on Queen’s Birthday Weekend in Wellington.

Headquarters New Zealand Defence Force is now accepting applications from Vietnam veterans. Eligible persons should complete an official application form, and forward the form to: The Medals Office, Headquarters New Zealand Defence Force, Private Bag 905, Upper Hutt.

For further information on the activities and ceremonial events surrounding Tribute 08: A Vietnam Commemoration please visit www.tribute08.com.

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Policy Adviser Medals Policy position advertised. Applications closed on Thursday 5 June 2008

12 May 2008

The Policy Adviser Medals Policy position, based in Wellington, was advertised from 12 May 2008 to 5 June 2008.

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Border Control Officials recognised

4 May 2008

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Customs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today presented awards to seventeen long-serving members of the New Zealand Customs Service, and paid tribute to their record of service.

“The New Zealand Customs Service Medal is a new medal, only recently approved by Her Majesty the Queen. It recognises long service and good conduct by frontline officers," Helen Clark said.

“It is a credit to New Zealand Customs that it has retained so many long-serving employees. It reflects the mutual commitment that the Service and its staff make to each other, and their proud record of public service,” Helen Clark said.

Customs Minister Nanaia Mahuta said the new medal is a significant achievement for Customs, one of New Zealand's oldest government departments.

"It highlights the important work these Customs officers do," Nanaia Mahuta said.

"Some of these officers have dedicated their lives to a career with Customs. We have officers who are receiving medals for service of fifty years and more. The recognition is well-deserved.

“Two of today’s recipients, Brian Redfern and John Hopkins, have served fifty-three and fifty years respectively. Customs has more than 150 employees who have been with the organisation for more than thirty years.

“The work of Customs has evolved over 168 years. Today it not only performs its original function of revenue collection at the border, but also helps protect us from illegal importations of drugs, weapons, objectionable material and counterfeit goods, as well as facilitating trade and travel.

“Today’s ceremony will be the first of many, with more than 300 officers eligible for the award of the medal. Henceforth, this medal recognises fourteen years of frontline service and good conduct. A clasp may be added for each subsequent seven years of service, Nanaia Mahuta said.

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Willie Apiata gifts Victoria Cross to New Zealand

24 April 2008

Defence Minister Phil Goff today accepted on behalf of New Zealand the Victoria Cross medal awarded last year to Corporal Willie Apiata of the SAS.

The Victoria Cross for New Zealand is the supreme military award for valour. Corporal Apiata was awarded the VC for his actions in Afghanistan in 2004 in saving the life of a comrade while under heavy fire from opposing forces.

"Willie Apiata earned the Victoria Cross for his courage and selflessness in putting his own life at severe risk to save the life of his comrade," Phil Goff said.

"Today, in a further remarkable example of selfless behaviour, he has donated his VC to be held by the NZSAS Trust on behalf of the nation.

"His actions reflect the commitment members of the SAS have to each other and the importance the Unit attaches to humility as one of its core values.

"Willia Apiata says he wears the VC on behalf of the New Zealand SAS, the NZ Defence Force and all New Zealanders. Like others before him, such as Charles Upham, he credits the winning of the medal to the shared efforts of the wider group of which he is a part.

"His decision to donate his medal and not seek material reward from it is hugely generous. It ensures that his VC is protected for the future generations of New Zealanders. It can never be sold.

"The medal will reside in the SAS compound in Papakura and will be on public display whenever Corporal Apiata wears it for public ceremonial purposes.

"In the future, the medal could go on public display at special events or ceremonies. This decision will be made by the NZSAS Trust, a charitable organisation dedicated to the welfare of SAS members and their families, in consultation with Corporal Apiata.

"New Zealanders can be proud of the extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of duty by Corporal Apiata and gratified by his generous decision to gift it to New Zealand," Phil Goff said.

"This medal is the first Victoria Cross for New Zealand to be awarded since it was instituted in 1999. It is the 14th VC awarded since the end of WWII and the first awarded to a member of the New Zealand military since 1946," Phil Goff said.

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presentation at the Beehive of the New Zealand General Service Medal (Timor-Leste)

15 April 2008

Nine people from the New Zealand Defence Force and Police who have served as part of New Zealand’s peacekeeping response to the violence in Timor-Leste since 2006 received the New Zealand General Service Medal (Timor-Leste), during a special ceremony today.

Prime Minister Helen Clark, Defence Minister Phil Goff, and Police Minister Annette King made the presentation in the Beehive at 4.30pm today. Other New Zealand Defence Force and New Zealand Police personnel will also receive the medal at separate ceremonies around the country in the coming months.

The NZGSM (Timor-Leste) was presented to seven Defence Force and two Police personnel who have served in Timor-Leste since 28 April 2006. Helen Clark said the recipients have helped provide security in the two years following the outbreak of violence in April 2006.

“Over the past two years, New Zealand personnel in Timor-Leste have faced many challenges in trying conditions. They have risen to those challenges and dealt with them effectively. This medal is a fitting recognition of these efforts,” Helen Clark said.

The nine who received their medals at Parliament today are:
• Colonel Sean Trengrove, New Zealand Army (Deputy Territorial Force Advisor)
• Lieutenant Commander Edward Isaac, Royal New Zealand Navy
• Squadron Leader Lorena Thomas, Royal New Zealand Air Force
• Captain Rik Anderson, Royal New Zealand Army Logistics Regiment
• Warrant Officer Class One David Armstrong, Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corps (Senior Territorial Force Warrant Officer)
• Flight Sergeant Stuart Cribb, Royal New Zealand Air Force
• Private Steven Tunley, Royal New Zealand Army Logistics Regiment
• Inspector John Spence, New Zealand Police
• Senior Sergeant Mark Duncan, New Zealand Police

Phil Goff said: “I have seen first hand on many occasions the professional dedication and friendly and respectful way in which Kiwis in Timor Leste have carried out their work. Their effectiveness is reflected in the warmth of the response they attract from local people, which is a measure of their success.

“Without the international presence in Timor Leste since 1999 the bloodshed and devastation there would have been greater,” Phil Goff said.

The New Zealand General Service Medal was instituted in 2002 and is awarded for operational service commenced since 1 January 2000.
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.

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Chief of Air Force invested with ONZM

2 April 2008

Chief of Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal Graham Lintott was yesterday invested as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, ONZM.  The full New Zealand Defence Force media release has been published on the NZDF website.

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Investiture Ceremonies - 1, 2 and 4 April 2008

27 March 2008

In ceremonies on Tuesday 1 April, Wednesday 2 April and Friday 4 April, Hon Anand Satyanand, Governor-General of New Zealand, will hold a series of investiture ceremonies at Government House, Wellington.

Some of the more than 100 people receiving honours are from the New Zealand Defence Force, NZ Police and NZ Fire Service. They include:

Tuesday 1 April 10.30am

Air Vice-Marshal Graham Lintott, RNZAF, Wellington, ONZM.
Brigadier Mark Wheeler, NZ Army, ONZM.
Air Commodore Terence Gardiner, RNZAF, Wellington, MNZM
Staff Sergeant Brenton Beach, RNZIR, Waiouru, DSD
Corporal Sean Ngatai, RNZALR, Palmerston North, DSD

Wednesday 2 April 10.30am

Senior Constable Hamish Blanch, Nelson, QSM
Senior Constable Gavin Leonard, Northcote, QSM
Senior Constable Michael Raynes, Stokes Valley, QSM

Wednesday 2 April 2.30pm

Air Vice-Marshal David Bamfield, RNZAF, Wellington, DSD
Warrant Officer Class One Mark Mortiboy, RNZALR, Rolleston, DSD.
Major Terence O'Neill, RNZIR, Waiouru, DSD.
Warrant Officer Class One Kevin Yorwarth, RNZALR, Tonga, DSD.

Friday 4 April 10.30am

Superintendent Graeme Cairns, Christchurch, MNZM.
Able Combat Systems Specialist Rene Rangi, RNZN, Turangi, MNZM.
Chief Fire Officer Ray Brown, Havelock North, QSM
William Cranson, NZ Fire Police, Waikanae, QSM
Chief Fire Officer Ron Leonard, Waiheke Island, QSM.
Chief Fire Officer Brian Schimanski, Timaru, QSM
Lieutenant Tim O'Donnell, RNZIR, Fielding, DSD.

Media wanting to attend these ceremonies must seek accreditation from the Public Affairs Officer, Antony Paltridge, on 04 382 0827 or 021 470 583 no later than 9am on the day of the ceremony.


The main investiture media advisory can be viewed at http://www.gg.govt.nz/media/news.asp

Details of the awards to the 11 New Zealand Defence Force recipients named above were published on the NZDF website on 7 January 2008.

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Staff Officer Medals position advertised. Applications closed on 16 April 2008

26 March 2008

The Staff Officer Medals position, based at Trentham Military Camp, was advertised from 26 March 2008 to 16 April 2008.

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Medal for Vietnam veterans - applications called for

29 February 2008

Her Majesty The Queen has approved the extension of eligibility for the New Zealand General Service Medal (NZGSM) 1992 (Warlike) with clasp ‘Vietnam’ to those veterans who are currently eligible for the Vietnam Medal, Prime Minister Helen Clark and Defence Minister Phil Goff today announced.

Helen Clark said the extension of eligibility was 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 2006.

“The Memorandum of Understanding addressed a number of issues relating to Vietnam veterans and their families. It also reflects public acknowledgement of the service performed by all New Zealand Vietnam veterans”, Helen Clark said.

Phil Goff said more than 3000 New Zealand Vietnam veterans will be eligible for the NZGSM with clasp ‘Vietnam’. The medal and clasp will also be available to the surviving spouse or family of eligible Vietnam veterans who are deceased.

Headquarters New Zealand Defence Force is now accepting applications from Vietnam veterans for the NZGSM with clasp ‘Vietnam’. Eligible persons should complete an official application form, and forward the form to: The Medals Office, Headquarters New Zealand Defence Force, Private Bag 905, Upper Hutt.

Veterans and surviving spouse/families of deceased veterans who are registered with Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand will be mailed an application form. Copies of this form may also be downloaded from the medal application forms page of the New Zealand Defence Force medals website: http://medals.nzdf.mil.nz/info/forms.html

A written application is required in order to establish eligibility and to ensure that the correct information is engraved on individual medals. The application includes a section where the applicant can indicate if he or she wishes to have the medal presented at Tribute ‘08 in Wellington, or delivered by courier.

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Operation Valour Appeal

29 February 2008

The NZ Police investigation into Operation Valour remains active and they are continuing their appeal for any possible witnesses or information surrounding the break-in to Waiouru Army Museum on the morning of 2 December 2007. The full New Zealand Defence Force media release has been published on the NZDF website.

Related news items:

16 February 2008 - Stolen War Medals Recovered - New Zealand Police media release

10 December 2007 - Operation Valour - Investigating Medal Theft from Waiouru Army Museum

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Assistant Director Medals Policy Leaves HQNZDF AFTER Three and a half years' Service

26 February 2008

Dr Aaron Fox, the Assistant Director Medals Policy since June 2004, retires from the NZDF on 29 February 2008.  He will shortly take up a new and challenging role in local government, based in Southland.

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Prime Minister praises police efforts

18 February 2008

Prime Minister Helen Clark today praised the New Zealand Police for their work in ensuring the safe return of the 96 medals stolen from the Waiouru Army Museum last year.

Helen Clark said the medals were an invaluable part of New Zealand's heritage and their theft had appalled the nation.

"The police work on this operation has been painstaking and thorough. They have now got the results hoped for New Zealand, and I commend them.

"Today is a proud day for the New Zealand Police," Helen Clark said.

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Chief of Army praises Operation Valour team

16 February 2008

The recovery of the stolen gallantry medals from Waiouru Army Museum is a testament to the professionalism and hard work of the police investigation team, says Chief of Army Major General Lou Gardiner. The full New Zealand Defence Force media release has been published on the NZDF website.

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Stolen War Medals Recovered - New Zealand Police media release

16 February 2008

Medals awarded to New Zealand's most highly decorated servicemen stolen in a military museum heist have been recovered, police announced today.

The priceless collection, awarded to 12 of New Zealand's most highly decorated war heroes, was stolen from the Waiouru Army Museum last December.

Operation Valour inquiry head Detective Senior Sergeant Chris Bensemann said all 12 sets of medals had been recovered in good condition and had been verified as being those stolen from Waiouru.

The medals were returned as a result of a $300,000 reward being offered last month by Lord Michael Ashcroft, the owner of the largest collection of Victoria Crosses, and a Nelson businessman.

"The reward was offered for information leading to the safe return of the medals and that has encouraged a person to come forward and facilitate the return of the medals to police," Mr Bensemann said.

An amount has been paid and no immunity from prosecution or support for reduction in any sentence for any offender was given in return, Mr Bensemann said.

"New Zealand Police celebrate the return of these national treasures. The recovery of the medals was the top priority. Nevertheless, our job won't be complete until we find the perpetrators of this burglary and bring them to court.

"The file will remain open for as long as it takes. My team will continue to work on this inquiry and I would urge the public to continue to provide us with any information which may come to the front of mind. The public shouldn't assume that because the inquiry is a couple of months long we have gathered all the relevant information. Even the smallest snippet of information can be of use in such investigations," Mr Bensemann said.

"What I can say is that the recovery of the medals has certainly narrowed the focus of the investigation, the net is closing and we are continuing to work very hard at pulling it tight."

The collection included nine Victoria Crosses, two George Medals and one Albert Medal. The recipients of those medals were Captain C Upham (VC and bar), Brigadier L Andrew (VC, DSO), Captain S Frickleton (VC), Sergeant J Hinton (VC), Sergeant A Hulme (VC), Major R Judson (VC, DCM, MM), Lieutenant Colonel H Laurent (VC), Sergeant J Grant (VC NZEF), Sergeant K Elliot (VC), Lance Corporal D Russell (GC), Sergeant M Hudson (GC), Captain R Riding (AM).

Mr Bensemann said the medals have been sent for forensic examination. This may take some weeks and they will then be returned.

Mr Bensemann said that anybody with information can ring the 0800 valour line or visit the New Zealand Police Website http://www.police.govt.nz/operation/valour/

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Phil Goff welcomes Recovery of National Treasures

15 February 2008

Defence Minister Phil Goff said that he was delighted and relieved at the recovery of the medals, including nine Victora Crosses, stolen from the Waiouru Army Museum late last year.

“These medals are New Zealand’s national treasures, with a value beyond any monetary worth. New Zealanders will be both delighted and relieved that the VCs and other medals have been recovered.

“I would like to thank and congratulate the Police for their work in recovering the medals and to thank the two businessmen for their generosity in putting up money as a reward for information leading to the recovery of the medals.

“Along with other New Zealanders I also hope that those responsible for the theft will, in due course, be held to account.

“The theft of the medals was a wake-up call for the need for a much higher level of security for them. The Defence Force is committed to allowing public access to the VCs. They should be available for the New Zealand public to see, as a celebration and reminder of the courage of the New Zealanders who won them.

“But it is also obvious that in future we will need the assurance that this can be done in a way that does not put these medals at risk. I have asked the Chief of Defence Force to work with the Defence Force museums to put in place measures that allow public access while maintaining the necessary level of security,” Mr Goff said.

Related media releases:

18 February 2008 - Prime Minister praises Police efforts

16 February 2008 - Chief of Army praises Operation Valour team

16 February 2008 - Stolen War Medals Recovered - New Zealand Police media release

Further information: Updates on Operation Valour, the investigation of the medal theft from Waiouru Army Museum on 2 December 2007 can be found on the NZDF website, and on the New Zealand Police Operation Valour webpages.

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Largest Reward Offered for Return of Stolen Medals

17 January 2008

The Police Commissioner Howard Broad jointly with the Chief of the Army, Major General Lou Gardiner, announced today the largest reward ever offered in New Zealand for information leading to the safe return of the medals stolen from the Army Museum last month.  The full New Zealand Police media release has been published on the NZDF website.

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Medal Reward Welcomed

17 January 2008

The New Zealand Army welcomed the announcement this morning that a reward has been formally offered in an effort to find further information leading to the recovery of the medal sets that were stolen from Waiouru Army Museum in December. The full New Zealand Army media release has been published on the NZDF website.

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New Year Honours for NZDF Personnel

7 January 2008

On 31 December 2007, it was announced that thirteen NZDF personnel will receive New Year Honours. Details of the awards and recipients have been published on the NZDF website.

Images and background information on the honours and awards awarded to NZDF personnel in the New Year Honours 2008 can be found on the following pages of the NZDF Medals website:

- The New Zealand Order of Merit page (which also features an image of the Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) )

- The Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) page

- The New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration (DSD) page

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 This page was last reviewed 7 May, 2013 and is current.