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3 September 2003

Medal Presentation to Next of Kin

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Defence Minister Mark Burton will today present the New Zealand Operational Service Medal (NZOSM) to 49 next of kin of New Zealanders who were killed or died in military operations since 1945. More than 200 people will attend the ceremony at Parliament.

The NZOSM was recently instituted to recognise all New Zealand personnel who served in operations since 1945, and meets a long-standing need for distinctive New Zealand recognition of operational service.

“I am pleased that we can now offer the families of those who lost their lives serving New Zealand appropriate acknowledgement of their loved ones’ service,” Helen Clark said. “Today’s presentation is an opportunity to convey New Zealand’s appreciation of that service.”

The operational service covered by the presentation includes Japan in the late 1940s, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, East Timor and Kuwait. The list of personnel being recognised at this presentation is attached.

The ceremony follows a search for the next of kin of the 125 New Zealanders who were killed or died during operational service since 3 September 1945. Previously, the New Zealand Defence Force lacked the next of kin details for half of those who died in such operations. Recent publicity of the medal presentations has identified family members of all but 15 of those eligible for an NZOSM.

A second medal presentation will be held in Auckland at a later date.

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