The outstanding and heroic deeds of men have been recognised in many ways. One of the earliest was a wreath made of laurel leaves; replicas of the laurel wreath were later cast in metal and worn on the recipient's armour and were, in effect, the first military decorations. Some speculate it to have been Roman, but there is no truly conclusive evidence that they were the first.
Medals were awarded for military valour in the 15th century, but not until the 18th century did medals commemorating victorious engagements become widespread.
The New Zealand Armed Forces have a proud tradition gained during the two World Wars, and in the many other conflicts in which they have taken part, including the Boer War, Korea, Malaya, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the many United Nations peacekeeping operations in which they have been, and still are, involved around the world.
They have earned a reputation, both from their allies and enemies, for being well trained, courageous, resourceful, and adaptive in the many and varied actions to which they have been committed.
This display is a tribute to all who have served in the New Zealand Armed Forces, in both war and peace, and shows the awards that have been made to members of these Forces between the year 1845 and the present. It is divided into four main sections, Gallantry and Bravery Awards, Campaign Stars and Medals that are awarded for service in a theatre of action, Long Service and Good Conduct Awards that are awarded for varying periods of long service and good conduct, and Foreign Medals awarded for service in a theatre of action.
Together with the description of each award is a reproduction of the medal and an example of the ribbon that is worn on the uniform to denote the award of that medal when the medal itself is not worn.
Where available, there is also a link to a copy of the Royal Warrant and Regulations pertaining to that medal.
The display does not include civil honours awarded (such as the M.B.E., Q.S.M.), or other miscellaneous medals such as Coronation or Jubilee medals, Polar medals, etc.
As well as the medals displayed here, many members of the New Zealand Armed Forces have been awarded Gallantry or Bravery decorations by other Allied Forces during combined operations, or when serving on secondment to those forces. Such medals are not shown here.
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