New Zealand Order of Merit
The New Zealand Order of Merit is an order
Order (decoration)
An order or order of merit is a visible honour, awarded by a government, dynastic house or international organization to an individual, usually in recognition of distinguished service to a nation or to humanity. The distinction between orders and decorations is somewhat vague, except that most...

 established in 1996 "for those persons 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."

The order includes five levels:
  • Knight or Dame Grand Companion (GNZM)
  • Knight or Dame Companion (KNZM or DNZM)
  • Companion (CNZM)
  • Officer (ONZM)
  • Member (MNZM)

Prior to 1996 New Zealanders received appointments to various British orders, viz. the Order of the Bath
Order of the Bath
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate mediæval ceremony for creating a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath...

, Order of St Michael and St George
Order of St Michael and St George
The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is an order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince Regent, later George IV of the United Kingdom, while he was acting as Prince Regent for his father, George III....

, Order of the British Empire
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

, Order of the Companions of Honour
Order of the Companions of Honour
The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V in June 1917, as a reward for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry or religion....

 as well as the distinction of Knight Bachelor
Knight Bachelor
The rank of Knight Bachelor is a part of the British honours system. It is the most basic rank of a man who has been knighted by the monarch but not as a member of one of the organised Orders of Chivalry...

. The change came about after the Prime Minister's Honours Advisory Committee (1995) was created "to consider and present options and suggestions on the structure of a New Zealand Royal Honours System in New Zealand, which is designed to recognise meritorious service, gallantry and bravery and long service"

Award quotas

The number of Knights and Dames Grand Companion (and Principal Companions) is limited to 30. Additionally, new appointments are limited to 15 Knight Companions, 40 Companions, 80 Officers and 140 Members per year. Ordinary membership is open to citizens of New Zealand or of Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 member countries which recognise Elizabeth II as head of state (Commonwealth realms). "Additional" members, appointed on special occasions, are not counted in the numerical limits. Foreigners appointed to the Order are given "Honorary" membership, though if they subsequently become a naturalised New Zealand citizen or a citizen of a Commonwealth realm they are eligible for Additional membership.

Insignia and other distinctions

  • The Collar, worn only by the Sovereign and Chancellor, comprises "links of the central medallion of the badge" and "S"-shaped Koru, with the Coat of Arms of New Zealand in centre. Hanging from the Coat of Arms is the badge of the Order.
  • The Star is an eight-pointed star with each arm bearing a representation of a fern frond, with the Order's badge superimposed in the centre. Grand Companions wear a gold star and Knight Companions wear a silver star.
  • The Badge for the three highest classes is a gold and white enamel cross with curved edges bearing at its centre the coat of arms of New Zealand within a green enamel ring bearing the motto For Merit Tohu Hiranga, topped by a royal crown. The badge for Officers and Members are similar, but in silver-gilt and silver respectively. Grand Companions wear the badge on a sash worn over the right shoulder; Knight Companions and Companions wear a neck ribbon (men) or a bow on the left shoulder (women). For Officers and Members it is worn from a ribbon on the left lapel (men) or a bow on the left shoulder (women).
  • The ribbon and sash are plain red ochre.

Knights (Dames) Grand Companion and Knights (Dames) Companion are entitled to use the style "Sir" ("Dame").

The order's statutes outline certain heraldic privileges connected to the order. Members of the top two grades are entitled to have the Order's circlet ("a green circle, edged gold, and inscribed with the Motto of the Order in gold") surrounding their shield. Grand Companions are also entitled to heraldic supporters
In heraldry, supporters are figures usually placed on either side of the shield and depicted holding it up. These figures may be real or imaginary animals, human figures, and in rare cases plants or inanimate objects...

. The Chancellor is entitled to supporters and a representation of the Collar of the Order around his/her shield.

Grand Companions and office holders

  • Sovereign: The Queen
  • Knights and Dames Grand Companion and Principal Companions:
    • Sir Michael Hardie Boys
      Michael Hardie Boys
      -External links:*-References:...

       GNZM GCMG QSO (1996)
    • Sir William Birch
      Bill Birch
      Sir William Francis Birch, GNZM , usually known as Bill Birch, is a former New Zealand politician. He served as Minister of Finance for several years in the fourth National government.-Early life:...

       GNZM (1999)
    • Dame Sian Elias
      Sian Elias
      Dame Sian Seerpoohi Elias, GNZM, PC, QC is the Chief Justice of New Zealand, and is therefore the most senior member of the country's judiciary. She is the presiding judge of the Supreme Court of New Zealand...

       GNZM PC QC (1999)
    • Sir Lloyd Geering
      Lloyd Geering
      Sir Lloyd George Geering, ONZ, GNZM, CBE, born 26 February 1918, is a New Zealand theologian, who faced charges of heresy in 1967 for his controversial views. He considers Christian and Muslim fundamentalism to be "social evils"...

       ONZ GNZM CBE (2000)
    • Dame Silvia Cartwright
      Silvia Cartwright
      Dame Silvia Rose Cartwright, PCNZM, DBE, QSO, DStJ was the 18th Governor-General of New Zealand.She is a graduate of the University of Otago, where she gained her LL.B degree in 1967, and a former student at Otago Girls' High School.- Public life and family :In 1989, she became the first female...

       PCNZM DBE QSO (2001)
    • Sir Patrick Goodman
      Patrick Goodman
      Sir Patrick Ledger Goodman, GNZM, CBE is a prominant New Zealand businessman, arts patron and philanthropist. Along with his brothers he co-founded the Australasian food giant Goodman Fielder. He is a former CEO and chairman of the company....

       GNZM Kt CBE (2002)
    • Sir Ivor Richardson
      Ivor Richardson
      Sir Ivor Lloyd Morgan Richardson, PCNZM is an eminent New Zealand and Commonwealth jurist and legal writer and a member of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.-Education:...

       PCNZM Kt (2002)
    • Sir Paul Callaghan
      Paul Callaghan (physicist)
      Sir Paul Terence Callaghan, GNZM, FRS, FRSNZ is a New Zealand physicist who, as the founding director of the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology at Victoria University of Wellington, holds the position of Alan MacDiarmid Professor of Physical Sciences and is also...

       GNZM FRS (2005)
    • Sir Anand Satyanand
      Anand Satyanand
      Sir Anand Satyanand, GNZM, QSO, KStJ was the 19th Governor-General of New Zealand. He previously worked as a lawyer, judge and ombudsman.-Early life and family:...

       GNZM QSO (2006)
    • Dame Malvina Major
      Malvina Major
      Dame Malvina Lorraine Major, GNZM, DBE is a New Zealand opera singer. She was born in Hamilton, New Zealand into a large musical family. As a child she performed at various concerts, singing mainly country and western pop and music from the shows. She received her first classical training in 1955,...

       GNZM DBE (2007)
    • Sir Ngatata Love
      Ngatata Love
      Sir Ralph Herberley "Ngatata" Love, GNZM, QSO, JP, is a New Zealand Treaty of Waitangi negotiator, academic and Māori leader. Love is a Professor of Business Development at Victoria University of Wellington's Victoria Management School....

       GNZM QSO JP (2008)
    • Sir Ray Avery
      Ray Avery (New Zealand scientist)
      Sir Raymond "Ray" John Avery, GNZM is a New Zealand scientist who won New Zealander of the Year award for his invention of technology to produce low cost intraocular lenses....

       GNZM (2010)

  • Additional Members:
    • Sir Jerry Mateparae
      Jerry Mateparae
      Lieutenant General Sir Jeremiah "Jerry" Mateparae, GNZM, QSO is New Zealand's 20th Governor-General. He was Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force between 2006 and 2011, the first Māori person to hold the office, and the Director of the New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau from 7...

       GNZM QSO (2011)

  • Officials:
    • Chancellor: Sir Jerry Mateparae
      Jerry Mateparae
      Lieutenant General Sir Jeremiah "Jerry" Mateparae, GNZM, QSO is New Zealand's 20th Governor-General. He was Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force between 2006 and 2011, the first Māori person to hold the office, and the Director of the New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau from 7...

       GNZM QSO (Governor-General of New Zealand
      Governor-General of New Zealand
      The Governor-General of New Zealand is the representative of the monarch of New Zealand . The Governor-General acts as the Queen's vice-regal representative in New Zealand and is often viewed as the de facto head of state....

    • Herald: Philip O'Shea CNZM LVO (New Zealand Herald Extraordinary
      New Zealand Herald Extraordinary
      -References:*Squibb, George, "Heraldic Authority in the British Commonwealth" Coat of Arms vol 10 no 76 p 125*O'Shea, P.P., "The Office of the New Zealand Herald of Arms" 20 New Zealand Armorist 7...

    • Secretary and Registrar: Rebecca Kitteridge (Clerk of the Executive Council of New Zealand
      Executive Council of New Zealand
      The Executive Council of New Zealand is the body which legally serves the functions of the Cabinet. It has a function similar to that served by the Privy Council in the United Kingdom...


Reference: Sovereign, Chancellor, Secretary and Registrar, and Herald: The New Zealand Order of Merit; Knights and Dames Grand Companion and Principal Companions: Principal and Distinguished Companions of The New Zealand Order of Merit and Knights and Dames.


A change to non-titular honours was a recommendation contained within the original report of the 1995 honours committee (The New Zealand Royal Honours System: The Report of the Prime Minister’s Honours Advisory Committee) which prompted the creation of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Titular honours were incorporated into the new system before its implementation in 1996 after the National Party caucus and public debate were split as to whether titles should be retained.

There has long been debate in New Zealand regarding the appropriateness of titles. Some feel it is no longer appropriate as New Zealand has not been a colony since 1907, and to these people titles are out of step with present-day New Zealand. Others feel that titles carry both domestic and international recognition, and that awarded on the basis of merit they remain an appropriate recognition of excellence.

In April 2000 the new Labour
New Zealand Labour Party
The New Zealand Labour Party is a New Zealand political party. It describes itself as centre-left and socially progressive and has been one of the two primary parties of New Zealand politics since 1935....

 Prime Minister Helen Clark
Helen Clark
Helen Elizabeth Clark, ONZ is a New Zealand political figure who was the 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand for three consecutive terms from 1999 to 2008...

 announced that knighthoods and damehoods were abolished, and the order's statutes were amended accordingly. Between 2000 and 2009, the two highest awards were called Principal Companion (PCNZM) and Distinguished Companion (DCNZM), and recipients did not receive the title "Sir" or "Dame". Their award was recognised solely by the use of post-nominal letters, as for the lower levels of the order.

A National Business Review
National Business Review
The National Business Review is a weekly New Zealand newspaper aimed at the business sector. The paper is owned by Barry Colman who also publishes the Grocers Review and several other small trade publications....

poll in February 2000 revealed that 54% of New Zealanders thought the titles should be scrapped. The Labour Government's April 2000 changes were criticised by opposition parties, with Richard Prebble
Richard Prebble
Richard William Prebble CBE, born 7 February 1948, was for many years a member of the New Zealand Parliament. Initially a member of the Labour Party, he joined the newly formed ACT New Zealand party under Roger Douglas in 1996.-Early and personal life:...

 of the ACT New Zealand party deriding the PCNZM's initials as standing for "a Politically Correct
Political correctness
Political correctness is a term which denotes language, ideas, policies, and behavior seen as seeking to minimize social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, certain other religions, beliefs or ideologies, disability, and age-related contexts,...

 New Zealand that used to be a Monarchy".

The issue of titular honours would appear whenever honours were mentioned. In the lead up to the 2005 general election
New Zealand general election, 2005
The 2005 New Zealand general election held on 17 September 2005 determined the composition of the 48th New Zealand Parliament. No party won a majority in the unicameral House of Representatives, but the Labour Party of Prime Minister Helen Clark secured two more seats than nearest rival, the...

, Leader of the Opposition
Leader of the Opposition (New Zealand)
The Leader of the Opposition in New Zealand is the politician who, at least in theory, commands the support of the non-government bloc of members in the New Zealand Parliament. In the debating chamber the Leader of the Opposition sits directly opposite the Prime Minister...

 Don Brash
Don Brash
Donald "Don" Thomas Brash , a New Zealand politician, was Leader of the Opposition, parliamentary leader of the National Party from 28 October 2003 to 27 November 2006 and the leader of the ACT Party for 28th April 2011 - 26 November 2011...

 suggested that should a National-led government be elected, he would reverse Labour's changes and re-introduce knighthoods.

In 2009, Prime Minister John Key
John Key
John Phillip Key is the 38th Prime Minister of New Zealand, in office since 2008. He has led the New Zealand National Party since 2006....

 restored the honours to their pre-April 2000 state. Principal Companions and Distinguished Companions (85 people in total) were given the option to convert their awards into Knighthoods or Damehoods. The restoration was welcomed by the Monarchist League of New Zealand
Monarchist League of New Zealand
Monarchy New Zealand is a national, non-partisan, not-for-profit organisation whose purpose is to promote, support and defend the constitutional monarchy of New Zealand. In addition to the general public, the organisation's membership includes a number of academics as well as numerous lawyers and...

. The option has been taken up by 72 of those affected, including rugby great Colin Meads
Colin Meads
Sir Colin Earl Meads, KNZM, MBE , is a former New Zealand rugby union footballer. He played 55 test matches , most frequently in the lock forward position, for New Zealand's national team, the All Blacks, from 1957 until 1971.Meads is widely considered one of the greatest players in history...

. Former Labour MP Margaret Shields
Margaret Shields
Dame Margaret Kerslake Shields, DNZM, QSO, JP is a former New Zealand politician of the Labour Party.She represented the electorate of Kapiti in Parliament from 1981 to 1990, when she was defeated by Roger Sowry, one of a number of losses contributing to the fall of the Fourth Labour Government...

 was one of those who accepted a Damehood, despite receiving a letter from former Prime Minister Helen Clark "setting out why Labour had abolished the titles and saying she hoped she would not accept one".

See also

  • New Zealand campaign medals
    New Zealand campaign medals
    Prior to 1946 the New Zealand armed forces received honours of the United Kingdom, including military decorations and campaign medals. Since the end of World War 2 there have been constant moves towards an independent New Zealand honours system...

  • Orders, decorations, and medals of New Zealand
  • Commonwealth realms orders and decorations
    Commonwealth Realms orders and decorations
    This article concerns the orders and decorations of the Commonwealth realms awarded by the sovereign in right of each nation.Awards are listed by order of wear.-Antigua and Barbuda:* The Most Exalted Order of the National Hero...

  • Order of Australia
    Order of Australia
    The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry established on 14 February 1975 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, "for the purpose of according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or for meritorious service"...

  • Order of Canada
    Order of Canada
    The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order, admission into which is, within the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, the second highest honour for merit...

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.