The following are some of the most common questions we are asked about our service …
Can you find my relative’s medals ?
No, but we can certainly advise you on how to go about looking for them. There are some useful resources contained in our Useful Links page. We can also add your search to the ‘Missing In Action’ list which is also circulated to our world-wide network of contacts who specialize in medals tracking and recovery. Our focus is necessarily on researching and reuniting the medals that are sent to us to return, in itself a very time consuming process.
Where do the medals come from ?
The medals we research are generally sent to us by members of the public. We have also received medals from RSAs/RSLs, various police services, businesses, service clubs, hospitality organisations and charity shops – in fact anyone who would like to see the medals or ephemera they may have found or have owned, returned to the named owner, be that person the recipient veteran, the family, or related descendant.
Will you research any medal ?
Yes, but only OFFICIAL medals. Our priority will always be to research named New Zealand war medals; we will however include the medals of veterans from another country that we hold on website and advertise for descendants internationally. Un-named medals are much more of a problem unless accompanied by a personal item that clearly identifies the medal with a particular recipient, i.e. named photo, certificate, letter, document etc. Without this supporting information we can only make the best effort to establish the identify of the medal recipient and possibly kin.
How do you know the medals you are given are not stolen ?
We don’t – however if we suspect a medal has been stolen we will be obliged to advise the New Zealand Police.
Will you research a medal if I send you the details of it ?
We will only research medals we have in our possession as we do not wish to be embarrassed by researching a medal and promising its return to the family, if we can not physically hand it over. You are welcome to be part of the medals handover once we have located the family.
What happens if the veteran’s family has moved overseas ?
MRNZ has many international contacts and resources that will allow us to trace a veteran’s family or descendants anywhere in the world.
How long does the research generally take ?
This is unknown as tracing a relative or descendant, particularly if a medal is un-named, may be a quick or long process, months or possibly years, depending upon what links exist and how quickly we can tie them to a living descendant. You may be assured however MRNZ will leave no stone un-turned in order to successfully resolve every medal case we undertake to research.
What happens to the medals if family or a descendant can not be traced, or if the medals are no longer wanted by the owner ?
In the short to medium term we retain the medals since it is always possible information could come to light at any time to resolve the case. We will never sell or otherwise dispose of any item entrusted to us for research. When we consider that all possibilities have been exhausted, medals with no ‘homes’ will be offered back to the donor. Our default position in the absence of any instructions or there being no desire to keep the medal, is to gift them for perpetual safe custody to the national Service museum the medal recipient was most associated with, e.g. the national Navy, Army or Air Force museums. A donor will always be advised of the results of case research and, if unresolved, consulted regarding the final placement of any medal.
Why are you doing this … no-one does anything for FREE these days ?
We as ex-servicemen and veterans well recognise the sacrifices and hardships many military veterans have had to face during warlike or dangerous operations. Our military forebears who fought in the Boer War, WW1, WW2, Korea, Malaya, Vietnam and more recent operations have sacrificed much – for many thousands of these New Zealanders it has cost them their lives and with that, the loss of and damage to families and their denial of an opportunity for a life of aspiration and fulfillment.
The award of medals for war service is both an honour and an acknowledgement of these sacrifices. All of our veterans, no matter how long gone they may be, deserve our eternal gratitude for their contribution by never being forgotten. Our satisfaction comes from the small part we can play by salvaging any of our war veterans lost, abandoned, forgotten, stolen or traded medals and returning them to their rightful place – as the taonga of family, whanau or descendant kin.
Please feel free to contact the Research Team at any time if you have a medal or research related question – if we don’t have the answer, we will continue to research your query until we have one for you – Contact Us