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27 November 2003

Next of Kin receive Operational Service Medals

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Defence Minister Mark Burton will today present the New Zealand Operational Service Medal (NZOSM) to 45 next of kin of New Zealanders who were killed or died in military operations since 1945. More than 200 people are expected to attend the ceremony at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

The ceremony is the second of its kind, and follows a successful nation-wide 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 (NZDF) lacked the next of kin details for half of these service personnel, but a recent NZDF publicity campaign has been able to identify family members of all but 10 of those eligible for an NZOSM.

Prime Minister Helen Clark said that the NZOSM meets a long-standing need for distinctive New Zealand recognition of operational service.

“The NZOSM was recently instituted to recognise all New Zealand personnel who have served in operations since 1945, and today’s ceremony is an opportunity to convey New Zealand’s deep appreciation of that 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.

“Like all New Zealanders, I am very aware of the debt that this country owes to all its service personnel. We have not forgotten those who have given their lives in the service of our country,” Helen Clark said.

Today’s presentation will honour those who served in Japan in the late 1940s, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, East Timor and Kuwait. The list of personnel being recognised at this presentation is attached.

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