Design of The New Zealand Orders Insignia
Traditional Maori designs, colours and symbolism have been blended into the design of the insignia of the three New Zealand Orders.
Red ochre (kokowai) has been used in the ribbons of The Order of New Zealand, The New Zealand Order of Merit, and The Queen’s Service Order and Medal. This colour has a spiritual significance for Maori. Red ochre was given official sanction as a national colour with the institution of the QSO in 1975. (Other New Zealand national colours are black and white/silver and these may be found in the design of a variety of ribbons for other medals.) Red and gold are traditional colours associated with knighthood and red is often used in heraldry to allude to toil, hard work and achievement.
The Warrants of Appointment (certificates) issued to those persons appointed to The Order of New Zealand, The New Zealand Order of Merit and The Queen’s Service Order are in English and Maori.
The various insignia of the three New Zealand Orders were designed by Phillip O’Shea, CNZM, LVO, New Zealand Herald of Arms Extraordinary to The Queen. He also designed the New Zealand Gallantry (except for the Victoria Cross for New Zealand) and Bravery Awards and many other official medals.