Protocol, Customs and Regulations for
NZ Citizens when wearing Honours & Awards
- Medal Guidance for Families
- Wearing a Poppy with Medals
- Saluting when Wearing Medals
- Commendations, Citations & Official Badges
- NZ Royal Honours System
- New Zealand Order of Wear
- Unofficial Medals & Badges
- Medal Fraud & Impostors
- Honour – means any order, decoration, medal or commendation conferred by a Head of State, head of government or recognised international organisation.
- Award – for the purposes of this website is a generic term whose context will determine its exact meaning, which may mean ‘to be presented’, or a reference to a non specified order, decoration, medal or badge.
- Order – means refers to an official award made for exceptional devotion and/or service to the Crown or State (in times of war or peace). It may be in the form of a neck decoration, medal, breast star, sash or combination thereof.
- Decoration – means any official award for Gallantry (in the face of the enemy), or Bravery (not in the face of the enemy), or exceptional merit.
- Medal – is any official (or unofficial) medal designed to be suspended by a ribbon that is worn on the chest.
- Insignia – a collective term used to refer to the badge of a chivalrous Order (worn about the neck), breast star, sash or collar associated with an Order.
- Badge – for the purposes of distinction on this website means any official armed forces or Crown uniformed service badge of merit or qualification designed to be worn when in official uniform, e. g. a unit citation, personal service commendation, pilot or aircrew brevet, naval warfare officer, submariner, parachutist/air dispatcher wings, clearance diver, ordnance demolition, marksman etc, that is .
- Citation – a personal or unit badge awarded for meritorious service similar to a medal ribbon bar, worn on the right chest.
- Official – means any order, decoration, medal, commendation or badge authorised (approved) by an Authority or Delegated Authority for the acceptance and wearing by a New Zealand citizen. Any not so approved are Unofficial.
- Official Uniform – means any uniform provided by the Crown for wear by a person in the service of the Crown.
Guidance for families
WHO is allowed to wear family medals ?
Wearing a family member’s medals is an HONOUR. Medals are the taonga* of a family’s military heritage that link ancestor Veterans to their descendants of the present. Wearing their medals is a visible reminder of that Veteran and an acknowledgement they are not forgotten. Not only are you acknowledging their military service (in war or other) but you also honour their memory and the sacrifices they made in the service of the State.
Any family member may wear the medals of any other deceased member of their family. If a family Veteran is living, ONLY he or she can wear their full size or miniature medals. Duplicate sets of the Veteran’s medals are not permitted to be worn by any other person (including miniature medals and ribbon bars).
* Taonga = in this context, a Maori term meaning an object that is highly prized.
Note: It might look cute or be a fun idea to have children wear the genuine or Replica medals of a living veteran but apart from devaluing the status of an honour/award which other Veterans have legitimately earned in service of the State, children wearing medals also disrespects their approving authority (Sovereign, Governor General or Prime Minister). Medals are not designed to be children’s play-things or dress-up decorations – accord them the respect they represent.
Tom Brodie with his grandfather, former RNZAF pilot Squadron Leader Paul A. Brodie (GD and A&S-GST) seen here on Anzac Day, 2014 at Kaikoura. Tom is wearing the First and Second World War medals of his great-grandfather (Paul’s father) correctly. Photo credit : Kaikoura Star
WHAT medals am I allowed to wear ?
- Only official service medals and decorations mounted on a medal bar (full-size or miniature) – neck badges, sashes, sash badges, or breast stars are not permitted to be worn.
- Only official medals which are suspended from a medal bar may be worn and specified in the NZ Order of Wear.
- If wearing miniature medals, some latitude is permitted to wear more than one group when appropriate, e. g. your own full-size medals plus grandfather and father’s miniature medals.
- If more than one group of miniature medals is to be worn, e. g. WW1 and WW2, the earliest awarded medals (WW1) take precedence and are to be placed on the right chest in the same relative position as for medals worn on the left. If both miniature groups can fit comfortably side by side, the senior group is placed closest to the centre of the chest. If space is an issue, the senior group (WW1) is placed above any second or subsequent groups, e. g. WW2 and post WW2 era medals.
Full-size or Miniature?
Veterans awarded a significant number of medals may sometimes be seen wearing miniature medals during daylight hours on commemorative occasions, in lieu of their full-size medals. This is perfectly acceptable to if the weight of wearing the full-size medals is likely to hinder the Veteran in the performance of any official duties, or the weight of full-size medals proves too cumbersome for the elderly or infirm Veterans to manage – this is a personal choice.
WHAT medals am I NOT allowed to wear ?
- NO PERSON is permitted to wear any official medal which has not been awarded to them (with the exception of a deceased relatives medals, as described above). To do so is an offence contrary to Section 46 of the Military Decorations and Distinctive Badges Act 1918 from which criminal proceedings can be initiated.
- NO PERSON is permitted to wear the insignia of any Royal Honour such as a neck decoration. badge, sash, sash badge or breast star, other than the recipient (even if the recipient is deceased).
- NO PERSON is permitted to wear the medals of a living Veteran (includes children wearing miniature medals).
- NO PERSON is permitted to wear official medals for ‘fancy dress’ or as a theatrical adornment.
- Not more than one group of full-size medals should be worn on the Right chest.
- Unofficial medals (commemorative, self-purchased or non-approved official and unofficial foreign medals) are not permitted to be worn on the same medal bar, OR at the same time, as official awards are worn (also refer ‘Unofficial medals and badges’ below).
- Although not medals or honours per se, official badges of Merit or Qualification, i. e. those designed to be worn when in uniform, e. g. Unit Citations, Commendation badges, brevets etc may be worn only by the recipient.
WHEN can I wear my relatives medals ?
A family descendant may only wear a deceased relatives medals. They may be worn on the two national days of Remembrance which are, Anzac Day (25 April) and Armistice Day (11 November). The medals should be worn only for the duration of the ceremony/service and be removed immediately the official part of the occasion is complete.
Note: Veterans wearing medals are guided by the occasion when consideration is given to the duration medals are worn.
The following is a guide for wearing Full-size and Miniature medals:
Daylight hours – Full-size medals are normally worn during daylight hours, defined as the hours between sunrise and sunset (approximately 6 am to 6 pm).
Evening hours – Miniature medals are designed for evening wear, on uniform or evening attire when the wearing of medals is required. Evening is defined as the hours between sunset and sunrise (approximately 6 pm to 6 am).
Note: Official medals must not be worn with fancy dress or as a decorative adornment. To do so undermines the status of the honours and awards Veterans have legitimately earned, whilst also disrespecting their approving Authority (the Sovereign, Governor General or Prime Minister).
WHERE are medals worn ?
The honour of wearing official medals on the LEFT chest is the sole prerogative of the medal recipient and does not pass to a widow, parent, child or other relative after that recipient dies. The same rule applies in the case of posthumous (after death) awards.
British lifesaving medals were available to New Zealanders until 1998 when a new range of New Zealand Bravery awards was instituted to recognise both military and civilian personnel who performed acts of self sacrifice and life saving. The only official honours from non-governmental or private organisations which have been authorised by the Sovereign (Royal patronage) for acceptance and wear by NZ citizens are the Order of St John and Royal Humane Society honours. Official non-governmental or private organisation honours are worn on the RIGHT chest – with one exception.
The Order of St John – Queen Elizabeth II as Sovereign Head of the Order has authorised those classes of the Order worn on a medal bar, to be worn ahead of all other official medals on the LEFT chest.
- Why the LEFT chest for Recipients? – contrary to popular belief the origin of wearing medals on the left chest has nothing to do with wearing them over the heart, as many seem to think. It stems from a very practical historical reason which has been adopted as the standard practice to the present day. When swords were worn they were worn predominantly positioned on the left side as most officers were right-handed and could draw their sword without interference. The swords were also heavy so a sash or belt was worn over the right shoulder to help support the weight, either with or without a belt. This would mean that if medals were worn on the right chest they would be covered by the sash or belt, could be knocked off by same or when drawing the sword.
Why the RIGHT chest for family members? – quite simply to clearly distinguish between medal recipients and those wearing the medals of a deceased relative.
HOW are medals worn ?
- Official medals are attached to a medal brooch bar, or may be stitched directly onto the jacket/outer garment.
- Medals are worn in a single row on a medal brooch bar (overlapped as necessary depending on the number of awards).
- Medals are worn in a specified sequence on the medal bar IAW the DPMC Rules – refer NZ ‘Order of Wear’ below
- Medals are normally mounted in either the SWING/FREE Style or COURT Style – see Medal Mounting.
- The medal brooch bar is positioned central and horizontally on the left (or right) chest immediately above a real or imaginary chest pocket, the brooch bar pin being located immediately above the top edge of the pocket flap.
- When medals are worn on a coat the medal brooch bar is fixed in the same relative position – the coat should be worn buttoned up.
WHY wear a deceased relative’s medals ?
The desire of families to honour and remember their family’s military veterans is evident by the ever increasing numbers, particularly of children, who proudly wear their ancestor’s medals on Anzac Day and Armistice (Remembrance) Day. Regrettably the disposal or loss of these medals has been all too frequent since over the intervening decades which effectively has denied many families a precious part of their ancestral military heritage.
Both the New Zealand and Australian governments have frequently acknowledged and honoured the selfless service of our military Veterans, past and present. As their descendants, we should never forget the voluntary spirit which motivated them to answer their King’s “call to arms” to serve in the South African War (2nd Anglo-Boer), the First and Second World Wars. Queen Elizabeth II subsequently required theirs, and our present veteran community, to serve in the Korean War, SE Asian conflicts (Malaya, Borneo, Vietnam) as well as the numerous United Nations, Peacekeeping and Special Service missions since. In fulfilling these obligations we should also never forget the affect their departure from NZ had upon often fearful and struggling families left behind, many of whom would never set eyes upon their loved ones again.
The selfless service of our war and service Veterans, past and present, in their pursuit of preserving that which we hold dear to our way of life in New Zealand, is worthy of our eternal gratitude. You can acknowledge and honour your deceased Veterans’ service and sacrifice by wearing their medals with dignity and pride on our two national days of remembrance.
But most importantly …
.. wear their medals with Dignity and Pride
Wearing a Poppy with medals
When wearing medals it is appropriate to wear your Poppy immediately above medals (or brevet if worn), or on the LEFT lapel. When wearing the medals of a relative on the right side, the Poppy remains on the LEFT lapel/chest.
When attending a commemorative occasion or funeral at which Poppies are to be laid as personal tributes, it is appropriate that the Poppy you wear is the one you use for the tribute. Positioning your Poppy on the left (lapel, chest or above medals) permits ease of access to remove it at the appropriate time to place on a memorial, the coffin or into the grave.
Compliments when wearing medals
Veterans attending parades, commemorative events, wreath laying services or funerals who are wearing civilian dress, with or without medals or an item of military head dress (e.g. beret, ski cap, ‘Lemon Squeezer’ etc) who wish to pay a saluting compliment, do not salute with the hand on any occasion. To do so (usually badly) is entirely inappropriate, is incorrect protocol, screams ignorance, and looks ridiculous!
Hand salutes are performed only by uniformed personnel of the NZDF or those in a uniformed service of the Crown, who are wearing full uniform inclusive of head dress. An ex-service person wearing civilian clothing and military head dress does not constitute ‘full uniform’. To get around this issue the Veterans Salute was developed as a versatile and appropriate way of paying a formal compliment when not in uniform.
Background – the Veterans Salute originated in London on Armistice Day 1920 during the ceremony to unveil and dedicate the national Cenotaph in Whitehall. At the same time a funeral procession accompanying the remains of the Unknown Soldier halted at the Cenotaph during the ceremony before proceeding to Westminster Abbey for internment. Those present included the senior Sailor, Soldier and many Victoria Cross recipients. The ceremony concluded with a march past. The Regimental Sergeant Major of the Guards Regiment conducting the ceremony, faced with a gathering of highly decorated and high ranking men (including VC holders), all of whom were wearing rows of medals, decreed that all personnel would salute the Cenotaph as they marched past by placing their right hand over their medals, signifying that ‘no matter what honours we may have been awarded, they are nothing compared with the honour due to those who made the supreme sacrifice’.
This method of paying a compliment provides a versatile and practical method for Veterans in civilian dress to pay a compliment on any occasion when saluting is appropriate. The Veteran Salute can be performed without error or effort (unlike a poor hand salute) with or without medals, with or without head-dress, individually (e. g. at a funeral or wreath laying) or on command when a member of a marching group.
The Veteran Salute is not prescribed in any NZ document of protocol however it has proved its purposefulness internationally on ceremonial occasions attended by military Veterans in civilian dress. It actively discourages those who would ignore protocol and hand salute, can be performed individually to suit a circumstance, or on command when in a marching formation. The Veteran Salute can also be performed at any time non-uniformed Veterans and uniformed personnel are required to salute together (together with armed military personnel) without any detriment to the performance of the compliment.
When should a Veteran salute?
- Individuals when stationary – the normal procedure is, after bowing the head briefly (when appropriate), cover your medals on the left chest with the right hand, fingers extended and closed together. This same gesture of respect may be made if no medals are worn. Persons, whether or not a Veteran, wearing a deceased Veteran’s medals (on the right chest), do not cover the medals with their left hand but rather salute by placing their right hand over their heart (in the manner of the Veteran Salute) as an appropriate alternative.
- When on the march – for Veterans marching as a formed body (under command) when a compliment is required, the Veterans Salute is executed during a March Past (on the command Eyes Left/Right & Front), during the sounding of the LAST POST, playing of a Royal or General Salute, or National Anthem (any country).
- At funerals – it is appropriate to salute before and after a Poppy is placed on the coffin, when the coffin passes between an honour guard of attending Veterans, and when a Poppy (or soil) is thrown into a grave. It is also appropriate when the ODE is recited and the LAST POST is sounded. No salute is required when the ROUSE is sounded (‘Reveille’ as it is incorrectly referred to).
- Whether the coffin is inside or outside, in a church or other location, sitting over the grave or lowered into it, the method of paying an individual compliment is the same: Approach the casket or grave, stand to attention, acknowledge the deceased by simultaneously bowing your head and perform the Veterans Salute, lay your Poppy down or drop into the grave – repeat the head bow and Veterans Salute to conclude your compliment before leaving the coffin or graveside.
Commendations, Citations & Official Badges
A Commendation (badge) is awarded to NZDF military and civilian personnel who perform to an ‘excellent’ level over a sustained period, or during a specific event or project. These awards are made to recognise individual excellence but is unlikely to meet the criteria for a New Zealand State honour. Commendations are presented with a manuscript narrative outlining the reason for the award.
A Citation (badge) is an organisational or group award made to military units, or civil organisations / groups (uniformed or not) who perform to an ‘excellent’ level either over a sustained period or during a specific event or project.
An Official Badge is one approved for wearing with uniform that represents a specific qualification or level of achievement e. g. Principle Warfare Officer (RNZN), Flying Badge (RNZN/NZ Army/RNZAF pilot wings and aircrew brevets), Parachute Wings. Upon exiting military service, former members may continue to wear their official badges of qualification if so desired, usually on appropriate occasions when wearing medals and civilian attire.
NZDF Personal Commendations & Unit Citations
COMMENDATIONS – top to bottom – Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), Chief of Navy (CON), Chief of Army (COA), Chief of Air Force (CAF)
NZDF (no image)
NZDF Approved Unit Citations and Commendations
US Army Meritorious Unit Commendation
- Awarded to 161 Battery RNZA – Vietnam (1966) – 1966
The Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Presidential Unit Citation
- Awarded to 161 Battery RNZA – Vietnam (1965-1971) – 1971
- Awarded to 2 NZ Army Training Team Vietnam [2 NZATTV] (1965-1971) – 1971
US Navy Presidential Unit Citation
- Awarded to 1 NZSAS – Afghanistan – 2004
Korean Presidential Unit Citation
- Awarded to 16 Field Regiment RNZA – Kapyong, Korea (1950-51) – 2011
Australian Meritorious Unit Citation
1. 3 Squadron RNZAF – INTERFET, East Timor, 2002
2. Force Communications Unit (FCU), Cambodia (1992-93), 2015
Personnel who served with the FCU in Cambodia wear Citation with Star; personnel posted to unit subsequently wore the Citation without Star – unit was disbanded before this could occur).
The Australian Meritorious Unit Citation is awarded to a unit, for sustained outstanding service in warlike operations. The Honour comprises an award of a Certificate of Citation to the unit signed by the Australian Governor-General and insignia of the Citation (as above) worn by members of the unit. The Meritorious Unit Citation was approved for introduction into the Australian Honours System on 15 January 1991. To date there have been 24 Meritorious Unit Citations presented, including two awards to New Zealand Defence Force personnel.
Australian Unit Citation for Gallantry
- Awarded to D Company, 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment at the Battle of Long Tan in Vietnam (1966), 2010. The Citation was awarded in 2010 to three NZ soldiers who took part in this battle.
- Awarded to 161 Battery RNZA,Vietnam (1968), 2019
The Australian Unit Citation for Gallantry is awarded to a unit for ‘extraordinary gallantry’ as a team in warlike operations. It is not awarded for acts of gallantry performed by an individual or by small groups of personnel.
Approximately 120 members of 161 Battery, RNZA who participated in the Battles of Fire Support Bases “Coral” and “Balmoral” in Vietnam between 12 May and 06 June 1968, as well as other New Zealand Armed Forces personnel directly involved in one or both battles. Fourteen veterans who supported Australian troops in the Vietnam War have been the first soldiers from a New Zealand military unit to be awarded an Australian Unit Citation for Gallantry.
While this is the first Australian Unit Citation for Gallantry offered to a New Zealand military unit, in 2010 approval was given for three New Zealand Army personnel who were attached to D Company, 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment at the Battle of Long Tan in Vietnam in 1966, to accept and wear the Australian Unit Citation for Gallantry awarded to D Company.
2011 Canterbury Earthquake Citation (CEC) – NZ Police
On 26 June 2012, the Commissioner of Police announced that a “2011 Canterbury Earthquake Citation” (CEC) would be issued to acknowledge approximately 3,200 members of the NZ Police who worked in or were deployed to Christchurch during the state of emergency period of 22 February to 30 April 2011. The CEC is worn by Police personnel as a dress distinction on the RIGHT side of their uniform.
The CEC is recognised as an ‘official’ award for NZ Police only. The CEC was also given to a number of military and civilian persons and organisations who assisted in the aftermath. It is not permitted to be worn by serving or former NZDF personnel when wearing military uniform. It may be worn in civilian dress as outlined above.
Wearing Commendations & Citations
- Uniformed military and government service personnel position a personal military Commendation or Unit Citation on the RIGHT chest, in a corresponding position to a full-size ribbon bar worn on the left side of the uniform.
- If more than one Commendation or Citation is to be worn, position the personal award first, closest to the centre of the chest, followed by unit/group awards beside it in order of the date awarded.
- In civilian dress, when full-size medals are worn on a lounge/business suit or jacket (ladies equivalent dress), personal Commendations and Unit Citations are worn on the RIGHT lapel (above any other lapel badge or pin if worn).
- A personal Commendation takes precedence over a unit or group Citation and is positioned first, closest the centre of the chest with the Citation beside, to the right.
- Commendations and Citations are not included in the NZ Order of Wear.
NZ Year of the Veteran Badge (2006) – known commonly as the ‘NZ Veterans Badge’ (NZVB) it was first issued in 2006 by then Prime Minister Helen Clark to mark the Year of the Veteran. The NZVB was also accompanied by a Certificate of Appreciation signed by the Prime Minister of New Zealand. The NZVB is not a medal or an award as such, it is a token of appreciation from the Prime Minister and Government of New Zealand on behalf of the New Zealand citizens, for service rendered in a specified operational area overseas (Active Service). The badge and certificate continue to be presented to the most recent Returned Veterans, and remain available to all RETURNED Veterans who have not previously received one.
- The NZVB is worn on the RIGHT lapel and takes precedence over any NZRSA membership or other lapel badges worn on the right side, i.e. it is worn above the NZRSA membership badge.
- The NZVB may only be worn by the family member wearing the medals of their deceased Veteran.
NZ Returned & Services Assn Membership – a badge worn by the financial members of the organisation. The badge is to be positioned on the RIGHT lapel below the NZ Veterans Badge, if worn.
This is an unofficial badge. Its purpose is to mirror the official authorised Australian or Fijian official Infantry Combat Badges. The concept has been previously considered by NZDF authorities and rejected. This is a privately produced badge by a NZ Infantry Veteran’s organisation and is available for purchase by so-called ‘qualifying’ personnel upon application. Wearing the badge is contrary to the articles in Section 46 of the Military Decorations and Distinctive Badges Act 1918 only if worn is such a position as to imply its legitimacy, i. e. directly above official medals.
Any unofficial Formation/Unit/Ship/Squadron Lapel Badge or Pin bearing the Royal Crown, Royal Arms or Cypher should be worn below the NZVB.
Rule of Thumb: avoid the ‘christmas tree’ look by wearing too many badges; to do so is unprofessional, it looks ridiculous, and those who do scream WANNABE !
“Unofficial” means any NZ or foreign order, decoration, medal or badge that does not have the approval of either the Governor-General (foreign honours) or the Prime Minister (for Commonwealth honours where the Sovereign is NOT the head of state) for acceptance and wear by a New Zealand citizen.
“Unofficial” also means any medal or medalette produced by a non-governmental, private or commercial organisations (whether for commemorative purposes e. g. a unit/ship/establishment or event/anniversary, or for commercial gain.
Unofficial medals differ from official in that they do not have the approval of the Sovereign or State (Governor General or Prime Minister) to be worn with official medals. There are several types:
Commemorative medals designed to be worn as a medal will usually require a person to buy the medal. In the main, commemorative medals are produced by private companies purely for commercial gain. These medals may be commissioned by a private organisation to commemorate a particular event while others are produced by the medal manufacturing company for any number of reasons, e. g. a Coronation, Royal Visit etc, and which are available as a commercial product for public purchase, in the nature of a souvenir. Whether produced for a legitimate commemorative reason such as a reunion, anniversary etc, or not, these medals have no OFFICIAL (approved) status, other than in the organisation they are produced for. The DPMC Rules regarding the wearing of unofficial medals apply.
Examples are: Dunkirk medal, Tobruk ‘T’ medal, Bomber Command medal, US Antarctic Service medal (when worn by non-US citizens), Korean War Veterans medal, NZ Army 150th Anniversary medal, Regular Force Cadets School 50th Anniversary medal.
“Vanity” medals – aka Junk, Tin
The derogatory names applied to these unofficial awards are many. This type of medal is produced to represent military service where no official medal has been struck, or was warranted and are favourites with Military Impostors and Wannabees. Manufacturers of these are profit driven and whose target market are often the Wannabe and the disenchanted who have not met the requirements of qualifying service for an official award, or have been prematurely discharged from military service for medical, disciplinary or suitability reasons. Self-purchased Vanity medals have no official status whatsoever.
Wearing Unofficial Medals
It is not illegal to wear an unofficial medal or badge however the DPMC Rules as administered by the Honours Unit impose the following restrictions:
- Unofficial NZ or foreign medals are not permitted to be worn on the same medal bar as official medals.
- Unofficial NZ or foreign medals are not permitted to be worn at the same time as official medals.
Note: If you are unsure whether or not you are permitted to wear a particular medal or badge with, or at the same time, as your official awards – Rule of Thumb: if you had to pay for it, or were given/presented with it as a memento, then it is not permitted to be worn at any time you are wearing your official medals.
Some examples of unofficial medals are:
* The NZ Army 150th Anniversary Commemorative Medal was produced by the Wellington Army Association in 1995 to commemorate 150 years since the formation of a permanent military force in New Zealand in 1845. It was presented officially to ONLY ONE group of Veteran’s descendants – the families of the 1st NZ Contingent NZMR who served in the Anglo-Boer War, 1899-1902. The medal is now manufactured widely by commercial enterprises.
This commemorative medal is unofficial and not permitted to be worn with, or at the same time as official medals.
** The Regular Force Cadet 50th Anniversary Commemorative & Memorial Medal was produced by the Regular Force Cadet Association (NZ Army) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the formation of the RF Cadet School at Trentham in 1948. Ex-RF Cadet and infantry Brigadier (Rtd) Bret Bestic made a special presentation of eight of the 1000 medals manufactured, to the families of the eight Fallen Cadets who died on Active Service. The eight medals are deemed to be ‘official’ for the eight families only meaning they are permitted to wear their medal at any subsequently hosted ex-RFCS event where wearing medals is appropriate. The remaining medals were purchased by ex-cadets attending the 50th anniversary commemorative celebrations.
This commemorative medal is unofficial and not permitted to be worn with, or at the same time as official medals.
*** United States Antarctic Service medal is an official special service medal the US Dept. of Defence presents to all military and civilian personnel who have spent either a Summer Season (6 months) or Wintered Over (12 months) on the Antarctic continent. New Zealand citizens (military and civilian) are permitted to accept the medal (and certificate) irrespective of the conditions under which it is presented (formal parade or not) as a memento of their time in Antarctica. As it is an “official” US Defence Dept award, it is worn by US service persons when in uniform in accordance with US single Service dress regulations. The medal in New Zealand however has no official status whatsoever, but it may be worn in accordance with the DPMC (Honours Unit) rules for wearing non-approved medals from governments where Her Majesty the Queen is not the head of state. Refer last paragraph below.
The 2009 NZ Government’s Medalic Recognition Joint Working Group (MRJWG) after lengthy debate resolved that service in Antarctica for military personnel was deemed to be non-operational service, i. e. it is conducted in a non-operational area (no belligerent threat exists), as opposed to operational service usually conducted in an Area of Operations (AO) where a threat (or potential threat) exists from a belligerent or potentially belligerent group or nation). The MRJWG concluded that the NZ Defence Service Medal (NZ DSM) was sufficient recognition to acknowledge Antarctic service, where the only threat is an environmental one. The NZ DSM recognises all loyal, attested service by NZ military personnel, whether in New Zealand or overseas, and is the official recognition of service on land or air in Antarctica and Antarctic waters, and all other non-operational military service.
To summarise, the US Antarctic Service medal is deemed an unofficial medal in terms of not having NZ governmental approval for inclusion in the NZ Order of Wear as set down in the DPMC (Honours Unit) Rules.
The US Antarctic Service medal is unofficial and not permitted to be worn with, or at the same time as official medals.
**** The International Year Of the Volunteer (IYOV) medal was a memento available to some volunteer organisations such as some Fire Services (e.g. NZ Rural Fire Service). It was designed to recognise volunteerism however, in the case of the NZ Fire and Police services separate rules apply.
This commemorative medal is unofficial and not permitted to be worn with, or at the same time as official medals.
In 2011 the New Zealand Defence Service Medal (NZ DSM) was instituted following a comprehensive study and recommendations made by an NZDF Medals Working Group had reviewed the adequacy of medalic recognition for military service. The NZ DSM was awarded to redress unrecognised periods of non-Active Service of up to 15 years. It is awarded to all regular and territorial military personnel who complete 3 years full time / efficient years service in the NZDF.
As a result, unofficial medals such as the Compulsory Military Training (CMT) and National Service (NS) commemorative medals have became irrelevant and not needed.
NZ Royal Honours System
The New Zealand Royal Honours system is a uniquely New Zealand system. Honours are administered by the Honours Unit, an office within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. The final honours lists are approved by The Queen of New Zealand, hereinafter referred to as the “Sovereign”, on the advice of the Prime Minister.
The New Zealand Royal Honours system is made up of:
- The Order of New Zealand
- The New Zealand Order of Merit
- The Queen’s Service Order and associated Queen’s Service Medal
- The New Zealand Bravery and Gallantry Stars
- The New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration
- The New Zealand Antarctic Medal
Over the years there have also been some special or one-off awards, such as the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal, and the New Zealand Suffrage Medal 1993.
As well as these core elements, the armed forces and uniformed services also have medals for their personnel, which are administered by those agencies. For a complete list of all the orders, decorations and medals that are officially part of the New Zealand Royal Honours system, see the honours listed in the New Zealand Order of Wear
Rules relating to the acceptance and wearing of Commonwealth, Foreign and International Honours
The Authority for approving NZ Honours and awards is the Queen of New Zealand. Her Majesty, the Queen has:
- delegated her Authority to the Governor-General of New Zealand, on the advice of the Prime Minister, to approve the acceptance and wearing of any Foreign honour by a New Zealand citizen;
- delegated her Authority to the Prime Minister of New Zealand to approve the acceptance and wearing of any Commonwealth honour by a New Zealand citizen;
- delegated her authority to the Governor-General of New Zealand, on the advice of the Prime Minister, to amend these Rules from time to time, with the exception of Rule 2 (a) to (c) above.
Rules and the DPMC Honours Unit
The Rules that govern the acceptance and wearing of NZ and foreign orders, decorations and medals in New Zealand are administered by the Honours Unit, an office of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC). The primary work of the Honours Unit is managing all matters related to Queen’s Birthday and New Year Honours lists, Gallantry and Bravery honours lists from time to time, and investitures.
The Honours Unit also has an advisory responsibility to the Prime Minister, in consultation with the NZ Herald of Arms for all honours designed by the Herald, and with the Heads of organisations employed by the Crown, e. g. the armed forces (NZDF) and non-military uniformed services (NZ Police, Customs etc).
The Honours Unit administers and promulgates the rules, hereafter called the DPMC Rules (including amendments), approved by the Approving Authority of any NZ or foreign order, decoration or medal worn by a New Zealand citizen.
Uniformed Services Employed by the Crown
The armed forces and uniformed services employed by the Crown produce agency specific regulations for wearing honours and awards by their personnel when in uniform, which necessarily may vary from the above.
Official Honours and Awards
Official honours are those orders, decorations or medals, NZ and foreign, authorised by the Sovereign or Delegates, the Governor General and/or Prime Minister of New Zealand, for acceptance and wear by a New Zealand citizen. The precedence of official NZ and foreign orders, decorations and medals is set down in the NZ ‘Order of Wear’ as authorised by the Governor General of New Zealand and administered by the Honours Unit of the DPMC.
New Zealand Order of Wear
Most official NZ orders, decorations and medals are worn suspended from a medal brooch bar in an approved sequence, known as the NZ Order of Wear.
Order of Wear – NZ & Imperial medals (as at Jan 2019)
VC, NZC & GC
- The Victoria Cross and Victoria Cross for New Zealand – VC
- New Zealand Cross (1999) – NZC
- George Cross – GC
State Orders & Post-Nominal Letters
- Knight/Lady of the Garter – KG/LG
- Knight/Lady of the Thistle – KT/LT
- Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath – GCB
- Order of Merit – OM
- Order of New Zealand – ONZ
- Baronet/Baronetess‘s badge (Bt., Bart. or Btss.)
- Knight/Dame Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit – GNZM (formerly Principal Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit – PCNZM)
- Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George – GCMG
- Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order – GCVO
- Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire – GBE
- Companion of Honour – CH
- Knight/Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit – KNZM/DNZM (formerly Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit – DCNZM)
- Knight/Dame Commander of the Order of the Bath – KCB/DCB
- Knight/Dame Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George – KCMG/DCMG
- Knight/Dame Commander of the Royal Victorian Order – KCVO/DCVO
- Knight/Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire – KBE/DBE
- Knight Bachelor Confers the title of Sir with no post-nominals
- Companion of The New Zealand Order of Merit – CNZM
- Companion of the Order of the Bath – CB
- Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George – CMG
- Commander of the Royal Victorian Order – CVO
- Commander of the Order of the British Empire – CBE
- New Zealand Gallantry Star – NZGS
- New Zealand Bravery Star – NZBS
- Companion of the Distinguished Service Order – DSO
- Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order – LVO
- Companion of The Queen’s Service Order – QSO
- Officer of The New Zealand Order of Merit – ONZM
- Officer of the Order of the British Empire – OBE
- Companion of the Imperial Service Order – ISO
- Member of the Royal Victorian Order – MVO
- Member of The New Zealand Order of Merit – MNZM
- Member of the Order of the British Empire – MBE
- New Zealand Gallantry Decoration – NZGD
- New Zealand Bravery Decoration – NZBD
- Royal Red Cross 1st Class (Member) – RRC
- Distinguished Service Cross – DSC
- Military Cross – MC
- Distinguished Flying Cross – DFC
- Air Force Cross – AFC
- Royal Red Cross 2nd Class (Associate) – ARRC
- Order of St John
The Order of St John is a semi-independent Order of Chivalry and while it is outside ministerial authority it remains within the New Zealand system. All appointments to, and promotions in, the Order are sanctioned by The Queen as “Sovereign Head” of the Order. In New Zealand the Order is constituted as a Priory and the Governor-General is Prior (head).
>> Grade I – Bailiff or Dame Grand Cross – GCStJ
>> Grade II – Knight or Dame of Justice or Grace – KStJ or DStJ
>> Grade III – Chaplain – ChStJ
>> Grade III – Commander – CStJ
>> Grade IV – Officer – OStJ
>> Grade V – Member – MStJ
>> Grade VI – Esquire – EsqStJ
Medals for Gallantry and Bravery
- Distinguished Conduct Medal – DCM
- Conspicuous Gallantry Medal – CGM
- George Medal – GM
- Distinguished Service Medal – DSM (Imperial)
- Military Medal – MM
- Distinguished Flying Medal – DFM
- Air Force Medal – AFM
- Queen’s Gallantry Medal – QGM
- New Zealand Gallantry Medal – NZGM
- New Zealand Bravery Medal – NZBM
Medals for Meritorious Service
- Royal Victorian Medal (Gold, Silver, Bronze) – RVM
- Queen’s Service Medal – QSM
- New Zealand Antarctic Medal – NZAM
- New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration – DSD
- British Empire Medal – BEM
- Queen’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service – QPM
- Queen’s Fire Service Medal for Distinguished Service – QFSM
Victorian Campaigns (NZ Land Wars)
South African War – 1899-1902 (Anglo-Boer or Boer War)
- Queen’s South Africa Medal – 12 clasps for eligible New Zealand soldiers. Nurses did not receive clasps.
- King’s South Africa Medal – 2 clasps for every medal awarded
World War I – 1914-1920
- 1914 Star (“Mons” Star) with Clasp: 5TH AUG–22 NO 1914
- 1914-15 Star
- British War Medal
- Mercantile Marine War Medal
- Victory Medal (emblem of the award of a Mention in Dispatches worn on this ribbon)
- Memorial Plaque – awarded from the commencement of World War 1, to the next of kin of New Zealand servicemen and women who were killed while serving overseas, or who died of wounds received while serving overseas, during the First World War. The plaque (sometimes referred to as ‘Death Penny, Death Plaque, Widow’s Penny’) was also awarded to servicemen and women, including those who served in the Mercantile Marine (Merchant Navy) after the end of the war, for those who died as a result of their war service and within three years from the date the war officially ceased.
- Memorial Scroll – A Memorial Scroll produced in the UK that accompanied each Memorial Plaque. The scroll was 20 x 32 cms in size and had the number, rank, name and unit of the deceased person penned in calligraphy with red ink. It was intended to be framed.
World War II – service to 03 Sep 1945 (includes UN, NATO & European Union awards – worn in order of date of participation)
- 1939-1945 Star – with clasps BATTLE OF BRITAIN (10 Jul-31 Oct 1940 only) and BOMBER COMMAND
- Atlantic Star – with clasps AIRCREW EUROPE and FRANCE & GERMANY (only the first clasp earned is worn)
- Air Crew Europe Star – with clasps ATLANTIC and FRANCE & GERMANY if qualified (only the first clasp earned is worn)
- Arctic Star
- Africa Star – with clasps 1ST ARMY, 8TH ARMY, NORTH AFRICA 1942-43 (only one worn)
- Pacific Star – clasp BURMA if later qualified for Burma Star
- Burma Star – clasp PACIFIC if later qualified for Pacific Star
- Italy Star – no clasps
- France and Germany Star – with clasp ATLANTIC if qualified (no Aircrew Europe clasp for this star)
- Defence Medal
- War Medal 1939–1945 (emblem of the award of a Mention in Dispatches worn on this ribbon)
- New Zealand War Service Medal
- New Zealand Memorial Cross (King George VI) – awarded since the commencement of World War 2 to the next of kin of New Zealand service personnel who died overseas while on “active service”, or subsequently died from causes attributable to that service. The award was suspended from a purple neck ribbon. Since 1960 the New Zealand Memorial Cross (Queen Elizabeth II) has been award as a brooch design.
Post World War II – service from 03 Sep 1945 (includes UN, NATO & European Union awards – worn in order of date of participation)
- New Zealand Operational Service Medal – awarded for first overseas deployment only
- New Zealand Service Medal 1946 – 1949 (British Commonwealth Occupation Forces [BCOF] in Japan (“J-Force”)
- Korea Medal (“K-Force”)
- Naval General Service Medal (1915)
- General Service Medal 1918–62 with clasp MALAYA
- New Zealand General Service Medal 1992 (Non-Warlike) with clasp KOREA 1954-57
- New Zealand General Service Medal 1992 (Warlike) with clasp MALAYA 1960-64
- General Service Medal 1962 with clasps BORNEO and MALAY PENINSULA
- Vietnam Medal (“V-Force”)
- New Zealand General Service Medal 1992 (Warlike) with clasp VIETNAM
- Rhodesia Medal
- New Zealand General Service Medal 1992 (Non-Warlike) with clasp INDIAN OCEAN
- New Zealand General Service Medal 1992 (Non-Warlike) with clasp SINAI
- New Zealand General Service Medal 1992 (Warlike) with clasp KUWAIT
- New Zealand General Service Medal 1992 (Non-Warlike) with clasp SOMALIA
- New Zealand General Service Medal 1992 (Non-Warlike) with clasp RAWANDA
- North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Medal (NATO) for the Former Yugoslavia
- East Timor Medal
- NZGSM 2002 (Solomon Islands)
- NZGSM 2002 (Korea)
- NZGSM 2002 (Afghanistan) – Primary Operations Area
- NZGSM 2002 (Afghanistan) – Secondary Operations Area
- North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Medal (NATO) for Kosovo
- North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Medal (NATO) for Non-Article 5 Operations in the Balkans
- NZGSM 2002 (Iraq 2003)
- The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Medal (NATO) for the Non-Article 5 ISAF Operation in Afghanistan – up to 31 December 2014
- European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) Service Medal
- NZGSM 2002 (Timor-Leste)
- NZGSM 2002 (Counter-Piracy)
- North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Medal for Africa
- NZGSM 2002 (Iraq 2015)
- NZGSM 2002 (Greater Middle East)
- North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Medal (NATO) Medal for Afghanistan – NATO Operation Resolute Support – from 1 January 2015
United Nations Medals
Service by military personnel and by civilian Police personnel in United Nations peace-keeping missions throughout the world since 1948 is recognised by the award of a medal bearing the United Nations emblem.
United Nations medalic policy is that other civilians are not awarded United Nations awards, with the exception of:
- The United Nations Medal (Korea) was also awarded to a limited range of civilians whose organisations were certified by the United Nations Commander-in-Chief as having directly supported military operations in Korea between 1950 and 1954 (emblem of an award of a Mention in Dispatches worn on this ribbon).
- The Dag Hammarskjöld Medal is awarded to military personnel, civilian Police personnel and other civilians who lose their lives while in the service of the United Nations. The medal is not designed to be worn.
UN Mission Medals
- To date, there have been more than 60 individual UN missions established each one recognised by the award of the United Nations Medal. Many New Zealand military and civilian Police personnel have taken part in UN missions all over the world. As a consequence the UN medal with a great variety of different mission ribbons is commonly worn in this country. View the ribbons of missions New Zealand has participated in here.
- The United Nations Special Service Medal (UNSSM) was created in 1995 to recognise United Nations service of at least 90 days duration by military personnel and civilian police for which no other award is authorised
New Zealand Special Service, Polar & Imperial Service Medals
- New Zealand Special Service Medal (Nuclear Testing)
- New Zealand Special Service Medal (Erebus)
- New Zealand Special Service Medal (Asian Tsunami)
- Polar Medal (in order of date of award.)
- Imperial Service Medal
Jubilee, Coronation and New Zealand Commemoration Medals
- King George V Coronation Medal, 1911
- George V Silver Jubilee Medal, 1935
- King George VI Coronation Medal, 1937
- Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal, 1953
- Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal, 1977
- Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, 2002 (only for personnel who were awarded the medal while a member of the British forces)
- Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, 2012
- New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal
- New Zealand Suffrage Centennial Medal 1993
Merit, Efficiency and Long Service Awards
- New Zealand Meritorious Service Medal (formerly the Medal for Meritorious Service awarded only to members of the New Zealand Army)
- New Zealand Defence Meritorious Service Medal
- New Zealand Police Meritorious Service Medal
- New Zealand Public Service Medal – inst Nov 2018
- New Zealand Armed Forces Award
- New Zealand Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (formerly the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, Military)
- Royal New Zealand Navy Long Service and Good Conduct Medal
- Royal New Zealand Air Force Long Service and Good Conduct Medal
- New Zealand Police Long Service and Good Conduct Medal
- New Zealand Fire Brigades Long Service and Good Conduct Medal
- New Zealand Prison Service Medal
- New Zealand Traffic Service Medal
- New Zealand Customs Service Medal
- Efficiency Decoration – ED
- Efficiency Medal
- Royal New Zealand Naval Reserve Decoration – RD
- Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve Decoration – VRD
- Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve Long Service and Good Conduct Medal
- Air Efficiency Medal – AE (post-nominal used only when awarded to an officer)
- Queen’s Medal For champion shots of the New Zealand Naval Forces
- Queen’s Medal For champion shots of the Military Forces
- Queen’s Medal For champion shots of the Air Force
- NZ Cadet Forces Medal
NZ Defence Service Medal
- New Zealand Defence Service Medal (with Clasps: Regular, Territorial, National Service, CMT)
No approval is required for the acceptance and wearing of official medals issued by a Commonwealth or foreign country, or international organisation, to commemorate previous military or operational service approved by government, including peacekeeping operations, by former New Zealand military and other personnel.
Note: The above is distinct from non-approved (unofficial) commemorative medals produced by organisations for the purposes of profit.
Australian Defence Medal
- Australian Defence Medal (former members of the ADF)
Commonwealth Independence Medals
Commonwealth Countries – Orders, Decorations and Medals
Instituted by the Sovereign as Head of State, other than in right of New Zealand or the United Kingdom. At the discretion of the holder, a Commonwealth award may be worn in a position comparable to, but following, the equivalent New Zealand or British Order, Decoration or Medal. Worn in order of date of award.
- Royal Military Order of St George (Tonga)
- INTERFET (International Force East Timor) Medal
- Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM) Medal – instituted by Commonwealth countries of which the Sovereign is not Head of State.
- Tongan Coronation Medal (2008)
Worn in order of date of award, according to participation or approval by foreign government.
- United States Bronze Star Medal
- United States Army Achievement Medal
- United States Antarctica Service Medal
- NATO Meritorious Service Medal
Official Foreign Medals
- Korean War Service Medal
- South Vietnamese Campaign Medal
- Zimbabwe Independence Medal (approved for restricted wear only**)
- Kuwait Liberation Medal (approved for restricted wear only**)
- Multinational Force and Observers Medal
- Timor Leste Solidarity Medal
- United States Army Commendation Medal
Note: ** Restricted Wear. The level of approval granted by the Sovereign which allows for an award to be worn only on specified occasions. Most of the awards which are approved for restricted wear only are foreign awards. Where restricted permission has been given the insignia may be worn on the following occasions:
- in the presence of any member of the Royal Family or Head of State of the country concerned;
- at the residence of any ambassador, minister, or consular officer of that country in New Zealand or abroad, but not if meeting him or her elsewhere;
- when attached to or officially meeting any officer of the Armed Forces or official deputation of that country;
- at any official or semi-official ceremony held exclusively in connection with that country, and
- on all occasions whilst in that country.
Foreign Commendations and Citations
Persons awarded an official Commendation or Citation must obtain approval from the Governor General or delegate, to acceptance and wear a military unit citation or personal commendation. The process for New Zealand citizens is the same as that for Commonwealth and foreign honours.
Medal Fraud & Imposters
Valour Theft, Medal Cheats, Impostors & Wannabees
1. VALOUR THEFT
The lowest of the low is the ‘Valour Thief.’ These are persons who steal valour by fraudulently representing him/herself as a self-styled hero by wearing official or replica decorations, medals or badges reserved for those who have performed acts of gallantry, bravery, distinguished or meritorious service. Anyone who wears a decoration or medal designed to recognise such acts and who is not entitled to do so, is breaking the law and can be prosecuted under the Summary Offences Act 1981, by being in contravention of Section 46 of the Military Decorations and Distinctive Badges Act 1918.
2. MEDAL CHEATS (the ‘Poser’)
The Medal (or Badge) Cheat in military parlance is also termed a ‘Poser’, a show-off who wears any unofficial medal, or non-entitled military badge of merit or qualification (or both) to impress the unknowing. These are the most common type of Wannabes, usually seen on public commemorative occasions or locations whenever medals are worn.
Medal Cheats regrettably are more frequently seen in the ranks of the ex-military veteran community. These people know exactly what they are doing by disregarding the Rules. The temptation to boost their own ego and impress others by adding unofficial / junk / vanity medals to their rack, or qualification badges they have no legal entitlement to wear, is for them to much to resist. The deluded Medal Cheat will ignore protocol and the Rules by dreaming up every justification under the sun as to why the accepted medal protocol, practices and the Rules do not apply to them.
Military veterans, more than most others who wear medals, know the Rules and the protocol for wearing them. Every one of those veterans have at sometime in their service been well schooled in the rights and wrongs of wearing medals and qualification badges, several times over during their military careers. Military regulations differ only slightly from the known Rules and accepted practice of wearing medals in NZ when in civilian dress, so, ignorance is no excuse. But still there are the ‘Posers’ who continue to think they have some pre-ordained right to side-step these Rules and practices whilst desperately hoping no-one will notice – Wrong !
Medal Cheats will also sometimes seek or accept a high profile appointment in an ex-service organisations (ESO) such as the NZRSA or the RSL in Australia. This gives a Medal Cheat yet another opportunity to ‘strut their stuff’ by parading their fraudulently enhanced medal rack publicly in the belief they are beyond the reach of someone who will recognise their fraud!
Adding an official looking name badge which includes the words, President, Vice-President etc, together with an organisation’s blazer pocket badge, is also a favoured ploy a Medal Cheat will use to promote their charade of legitimacy and (hopefully) deflect undue scrutiny away from the medals they have no entitlement to wear.
On occasions, an apparent Medal Cheat may draw undue attention to themselves by being excessively bedecked in a mixed array of medals, sometimes worn haphazardly, and obvious to most veterans that the individual just looks plainly ridiculous (such as in the picture at right). A large array of mixed medals and badges, poorly mounted and an obvious absence of embarrassment in wearing the array, may also be an indication that while no actual fraud is intended, the wearer may have issues of mental stability. These situations therefore should be handled with care and preferably with the assistance of qualified medical professionals.
Medal Cheats will sometimes wear a combination of official and unofficial / junk / vanity medals and/or official qualification or merit badges to which they have no entitlement. History has shown that these are more likely to flourish in smaller and rural towns where whatever medals or badges they might chose to wear is less likely to be challenged by unknowing locals.
Medal Cheats can be prosecuted under the Summary Offences Act 1981 by being in contravention of Section 46 of the Military Decorations and Distinctive Badges Act 1918.
3. The WANNABE (want-to-be)
Wannabes all have one thing in common; for whatever reason they feel the need to fraudulently misrepresent themselves and their military service (if any) by wearing medals, badges, uniform and/or accoutrements, NZ and foreign, to which they have no entitlement to wear.
A Wannabe may have no military service, some service (may have been discharged for unsuitability, or on medical grounds), or a whole career of uniformed and returned service behind them. These individuals may wear unofficial / junk / vanity medals, badges and items of military dress, in order to represent themselves (usually badly) as a former uniformed Veteran or a Returned Veteran.
4. MILITARY IMPOSTORS
The Military Impostor fraudulently pretends to have had uniformed military service when they have had none. These individuals are often characterised by naive attempts to deceive others by wearing any combination of a uniform and/or medals, ribbons, badges and other accoutrements, to which they have no entitlement.
Impostors will often represent him/herself as a Returned Veteran (Para, SAS, Special Forces, “Black Ops”, Clearance Diver, Warfare Officer and Pilot are the favoured pretences). Impostors can usually be quickly unmasked by their naivety of attention to correctness – poor personal appearance, inappropriate dress combinations, wearing replica or ‘junk’ medals and badges, medals arranged in an incorrect ‘order of wearing’. In addition their back story will not stand up to even rudimentary scrutiny – they lack the specifics of professional and general military knowledge by failing to adequately answer searching questions. The above are the hallmarks of a Military Impostor whether dressed in civilian clothing or military uniform.
More sophisticated Military Impostor attempts are rare. These tend to present as believable both in appearance and back story. An Impostor may carry a counterfeited or stolen Identity Card, dog tags, stolen or replica medals/badges etc in order to represent themselves as either a serving or former military/uniformed service veteran, for the purposes of gaining access and/or personal prestige – read more here … http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/9773280/SAS-phony-ignored-warning
Military Impostors are breaking the law and can be prosecuted under the Crimes Act 1961 (Fraud, Trespass, etc); and the Summary Offences Act 1981, contrary to Section 46 of the Military Decorations and Distinctive Badges Act 1918.
Valour Thieves, Medal Cheats, Wannabees and Impostors are abhorred by serving military and veteran communities. Once exposed, these transgressors can expect to be treated with derision and disdain by often very unforgiving veterans. Fraudsters of any type should be reported to the relevant authorities without delay (the organisation concerned, or NZ Police).
Note: If you suspect a person of being a medal or military fraud but are unsure of your facts, ask the advice of an experienced Veteran or a serving military person whom you can trust – they will know what to do.
~~~~~~~~~~<< MRNZ >>~~~~~~~~~~