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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.[1] The New Zealand Wars were previously known as the Māori Wars, Anglo-Māori Wars or Land Wars.

New Zealand Wars Medal
New Zeland Medal 1845-1866 (Obverse).jpgNew Zeland Medal with Reverse dates 1865-1865.jpg
Obverse and reverse of the medal.
Awarded by United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
TypeCampaign medal
EligibilityBritish and Colonial forces.
Awarded forCampaign service.
Campaign(s)New Zealand Wars 1845–47 & 1860–66
DescriptionSilver disk, 36mm in diameter.
RelatedNew Zealand Cross for bravery.
New Zealand Medal BAR.svg
Ribbon bar.

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 guerrilla war in the New Zealand bush.

The medal was authorised in 1869 for award only to survivors.[1] 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 silver, circular, 36 millimetres (1.4 in) in diameter and with a straight bar suspender ornamented with New Zealand fern fronds.[1] The medal was designed by the brothers A. B. and J. S. Wyon.[2]

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 larger than, that on the Abyssinian Medal issued in the same year.

The reverse has a laurel wreath containing the year or years between which the recipient served, with the words NEW ZEALAND above and VIRTUTIS HONOR (Honour of valour) below. Generally colonial militia medals are undated, as were some to Imperial forces. A year range is given as '1863 / to / 1865' (in three lines) and, uniquely for a British campaign medal, the year(s) are die struck in the centre. A few specimens are known bearing the dates with '1846 to 1865'.[2]

The ribbon, 1.25 inches (32 mm) wide, is of blue with a 10mm red centre stripe.[2]

No clasps (bars) were issued.[3]

Number issuedEdit

The number struck was 1,957 (Imperial government) and 2,500 (Colonial government), total 4,457, of which about 4,400 were issued.
The Ministry of Defence retained a few unclaimed medals, some of which they sold in the 1960s marked 'specimen' and with the name of the recipient obliterated.[2]

See alsoEdit

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)


  1. ^ a b c John W. Mussell, editor. Medal Yearbook 2015. pp. 147 Published Token Publishing Limited, Honiton, Devon. 2015.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  2. ^ a b c d Joslin, Litherland and Simpkin. British Battles and Medals. p. 143. Published Spink, London. 1988.
  3. ^ Taprell Dorling. Ribbons and Medals. p. 62 A.H.Baldwin & Sons Ltd, London. 1956.

External linksEdit