National Army Museum, Waiouru, New Zealand : Military History & Army War Museum

New Zealand Medal

New Zealand Medal

The New Zealand Medal was instituted on 1 March 1869 for service in the Colony by both Imperial and Colonial Troops during the New Zealand Wars of 1845-47 and 1861-66. The Colonial soldier had to prove he had faced enemy fire or have performed some distinguished service in order to qualify for the medal, whereas the Imperial soldier was awarded the medal if he had merely served in New Zealand.

Many local soldiers did not apply for their medal for a number of reasons. For a start, many of these men could not write. Colonial soldiers also had to provide written proof from their Commanding Officer that they had been under enemy fire. The medal was not available until many years after the wars had ended, which meant it was often difficult to locate these former Commanding Officers. Despite these difficulties, 4,879 medals were issued to members of the Colonial Volunteer units that served during the wars.

The front of the medal shows the profile of Queen Victoria with a veil covering the back of her head. This was the first medal struck after the death of her husband, Prince Albert, and therefore it shows the Queen in mourning.