New Zealand Order of Merit

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Companion's Badge of the New Zealand Order of Merit

The New Zealand Order of Merit is an order of chivalry established on 30 May 1996 by Elizabeth II. The Order includes five classes in civil and military divisions, in order of seniority:

  • Principal Companion (PCNZM) (formerly Knight or Dame Grand Companion, GNZM)
  • Distinguished Companion (DCNZM) (formerly Knight or Dame Companion, K/DNZM)
  • Companion (CNZM)
  • Officer (ONZM)
  • Member (MNZM)

Only the two highest ranks were knightly, though knighthoods and damehoods were discontinued by the Labour government of Helen Clark in 2001. This was criticised by opposition parties, with Richard Prebble of the ACT New Zealand party deriding the PCNZM's initials as standing for 'a Politically Correct New Zealand that used to be a Monarchy'.

It was established "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." In the reorganisation of the New Zealand Honours System in 1996 it has taken over the role formerly played by the Order of the British Empire in being the general, all-purpose award for New Zealanders.

The Order's motto is For Merit/Tohu Hiranga.


  • The Collar is a gold chain of linked esses, with traditional New Zealand koru patterns, with the Coat of Arms of New Zealand hanging at the centre. It is worn with the badge by Principal Companions around the neck on certain occasions in lieu of the sash.
  • The Star is an eight-pointed star, gold for Principal Companions and silver for Distinguished Companions, with the appearance of fern leaves, bearing at the centre the badge of the Order. It is worn on the left chest.
  • The Badge for the three highest classes is a gold and white enamel cross with curved edges. The central disc has the Coat of Arms of New Zealand, surrounded by a ring in green enamel bearing the Motto of the Order, and topped by a royal crown. The badge for ONZMs and MNZMs are similar, but in plain gold and plain silver respectively. Principal Companions wear the badge on a sash worn over the right shoulder; DCNZMs and CNZMs wear a necklet (men) or a bow on the left shoulder (women). For ONZMs and MNZMs it is worn from a ribbon on the left chest (men) or a bow on the left shoulder (women).
  • The ribbon is red ochre.

Officers of the Order

Sovereign: HM The Queen
Chancellor: The Governor-General of New Zealand
Secretary and Registrar: The Clerk of the Executive Council of New Zealand
Herald: New Zealand Herald of Arms

External link

  • Official Site (, has images of the various insignia

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