New Zealand Antarctic MedalPrime Minister
Prime Minister Helen Clark today announced that the Queen has approved the institution of The New Zealand Antarctic Medal.
The new medal replaces the British Polar Medal and continues the tradition begun in 1904 of recognising the significant contribution which New Zealanders have made, and continue to make, to the protection and knowledge of Antarctica.
Helen Clark said that the criteria for the award of the Medal were developed in close consultation with those organisations with a close interest in the Antarctic.
The Medal may be awarded to New Zealanders and other persons who either individually or as members of the New Zealand programme in the Antarctic region have made an outstanding contribution to either exploration, scientific research, conservation, environmental protection, or knowledge of the Antarctic region, or in support of New Zealand’s objectives or operations, or both, in Antarctica.
"The New Zealand Antarctic Medal is an important addition to New Zealand’s honours system. The first recipients will be announced in the 2007 New Years Honours list.
"In keeping with the importance to New Zealand of the Antarctic region, the new medal will enjoy a precedence comparable to that of the Queen’s Service Medal. Recipients will be entitled to use the post-nominal letters “N.Z.A.M.” and, in addition, will receive their awards at the regular investitures at Government House.
"The new medal will be made of Sterling Silver, and retains the famous octagonal shape and white ribbon of the Polar Medal. The reverse design shows a group of four Emperor Penguins on an Antarctic landscape with Mt Erebus in the background. The obverse bears an effigy of the Queen and the inscription Elizabeth II Queen of New Zealand. The medal was designed by Phillip O’Shea, CNZM, LVO, New Zealand Herald of Arms," Helen Clark said.
Further information may be found on the Honours Secretariat website www.honours.govt.nz.