New Zealand Royal Honours

The Order of NZ Badge
 
The Badge of the Order of New Zealand, our country’s highest honour.

The Governor-General, on behalf of the Queen, holds investiture ceremonies for the people named in the New Year and The Queen's Birthday Honours Lists and in Special Honours Lists.  Except for those honours that are in The Queen's personal gift, all awards are made on the advice of the Prime Minister.

New Zealand's highest honour is the The Order of New Zealand (ONZ), with a maximum ordinary membership of 20. The Order was instituted by Royal Warrant in 1987 and is awarded for "outstanding service to the Crown and people of New Zealand in a civil or military capacity".

The New Zealand Order of Merit was instituted by Royal Warrant in 1996 (amended in 2009) and replaced imperial awards that are conferred in Britain.  It is awarded to those "who in any field of endeavour have rendered meritorious service to the Crown and nation or who have become distinguished by their eminence, talents, contributions or other merits".   There are five classes to the New Zealand Order of Merit: Knight or Dame Grand Companion (GNZM); Knight or Dame Companion (KNZM or DNZM); Companion (CNZM); Officer (ONZM); and Member (MNZM). No more than 30 people may belong to the class of Knight or Dame Grand Companion at any one time.

Between 2000 and 2009, the highest two classes in the Order were the Principal Companion (PCNZM) and Distinguished Companion (DCNZM).  Under changes instituted by the Amended Royal Warrant in 2009, which reinstated titular honours, Principal Companions could elect to be redesignated as as Knight or Dame Grand Companion and Distinguished Companions could elect to be redesignated as a Knight or Dame Companion.  Those who elected not to be redesignated remain Principal or Distinguished Companions of the Order, and retain their existing privileges and styles.

A third New Zealand honour is The Queen's Service Order (QSO) and the associated Queen's Service Medal (QSM), which was instituted in Royal Warrant in 1975 (updated in 2007).   It is awarded to those "who have rendered either, or both: valuable voluntary service to the community; or meritorious and faithful services to the Crown or similar services within the public sector, whether in elected or appointed office".

The New Zealand Gallantry Awards recognise those military, and certain other categories of support personnel, who perform acts of gallantry while involved in war and operational service, including peacekeeping.   The New Zealand Bravery Awards recognise the actions of those persons who save or attempt to save the life of another person and in the course of which they place their own safety or life at risk.  

Other New Zealand Honours include the New Zealand Antarctic Medal and the Distinguished Service Decoration.

New Zealanders wanting to nominate a person for public recognition can submit recommendations and their reasons to the Prime Minister or the Honours Unit by completing its online nomination form.  Printed nomination forms are available from the offices of members of Parliament and from the Honours Unit in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in Wellington.

Tours of Government House Wellington for the public, schools and community groups are being offered, starting in the New Visitor Centre.

Find out more.

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