New Zealand War Service Medal

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New Zealand War Service Medal
New Zealand War Service Medal obv.gifNew Zealand War Service Medal rev.png

New Zealand War Service Medal 1939-1945 BAR.svg
Obverse (top left) and reverse (top right) of the medal. Ribbon: 32mm, black with white edges.
Awarded by New Zealand
Type Campaign medal
Eligibility New Zealand forces.
Awarded for Campaign service.
Campaign(s) Second World War 1939-45.
Description Cupro-nickel disk, 36mm diameter.
Clasps None authorised.
Established 1946
Total awarded 238,000

The New Zealand War Service Medal (NZWSM)was a New Zealand campaign medal for service in World War II.

The NZWSM was approved in 1946, and was awarded to members of the New Zealand armed forces, the National Military Reserve, and the Home Guard. The NZWSM was awarded in addition to the standard Commonwealth campaign awards for World War II.

The NZWSM was awarded for 28 days' full-time aggregated service or six months' part-time aggregated service between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945. Service brought to an end by death on duty, or due to wounds sustained on duty, or honourable discharge as a result of such wounds, automatically qualified for award of the medal.[1] Some 238,000 medals were issued.[1]

This medal, the reverse and mount of which were designed by the historian and typographer Dr John Beaglehole and the wood engraver E Mervyn Taylor, was the first distinctively ‘New Zealand' campaign medal, which was emphasised by the use of the fern leaf motif on the reverse and the national colours of black and white in the ribbon. The use of the fern leaf motif was made at the request of the Labour party cabinet who wanted 'a fern leaf like on the All Blacks' jersey'.[2]

The NZWSM was issued unnamed.


None authorised


  1. ^ a b British Battles and Medals, p257
  2. ^ Tim Beaglehole, A life of J C Beaglehole: New Zealand scholar (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2006), pp. 299-300.


  • Mackay, J and Mussel, J (eds) - Medals Yearbook - 2005, (2004), Token Publishing.
  • Joslin, Litherland, and Simpkin (eds), British Battles and Medals, (1988), Spink

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