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New Zealand Wars Medal
New Zealand Medal obv.jpgNew Zealand Medal rev.jpg

New Zealand Medal BAR.svg
Obverse (top left) and reverse (top right) of the medal.
Awarded by United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Type Campaign medal
Eligibility British and Colonial forces.
Awarded for Campaign service.
Campaign New Zealand Wars 1845–47 & 1860–66
Description Bronze or silver disk, 36mm diameter.
Established 1869

The New Zealand Medal was a campaign medal awarded to Imperial and Colonial troops in the New Zealand Wars of 1845–47 (and for 1848) and 1860–66. The New Zealand Wars were previously known as the Maori Wars, Anglo-Maori Wars or Land Wars. The medal was authorised in 1869.

The Imperial forces included British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Marines. The Colonial militia were recruited locally or in Australia, and included mobile forces like Von Tempskys Forest Rangers and the Arawa Flying Column from a Māori tribe for the guerilla war in the New Zealand bush. Colonial militia claimants had to prove that they had been under fire. Claims from colonial forces were closed in 1900 but reopened in 1910 and 1913 in association with land claims for service in the war. Claims were finally closed for Europeans in 1915 and Māori in 1916.


The medal is a circular bronze (usually) or silver design with a straight bar suspender. The obverse shows an effigy of Queen Victoria, facing left and wearing a diadem and veil, with the legend: VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D : The bust is similar to but smaller than that on the Abyssinian Medal issued in the same year.

The reverse has a laurel wreath with in centre usually a year or year range from either the first or second period, and between the wreath and the edge NEW ZEALAND (above wreath) and VIRTUTIS HONOR (Honour of valour; below wreath). Generally the colonial militia medals are undated, and a few specimens are known with '1846 to 1865'. A year range is given as ‘1863 / to / 1865’ (in three lines) and unusually for 19th century British medals the year(s) are die struck in the centre.

The blue ribbon has a 10mm red centre stripe. The suspender is ornamented with New Zealand fern fronds. No clasps (bars) were issued.

Number issued

The number struck was 1957 (Imperial government) and 2500 (Colonial government), total 4457, of which about 4400 were issued. The Ministry of Defence retained a few, and sold some unclaimed medals in the 1960s with the name of the recipient XXXXXed out.

See also


  • The New Zealand War Medal: Awards to Colonial Units by P. Y. Dennerly (The Volunteer May 1986, Volume 12 No 4; journal of the New Zealand Military Historical Society)

External links

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