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Design of The New Zealand Orders

The Maori dimension

Traditional Maori designs, colours, and symbolism have been blended into the design of the insignia of the three New Zealand Orders (the Queen's Service Order and associated Medal, the Order of New Zealand, and the New Zealand Order of Merit).

Red ochre (kokowai) has been used in the ribbon of each Order.  This colour has a spiritual significance for Maori.  Red ochre was given official sanction as a national colour with the institution of the Queen's Service Order 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 New Zealand's Orders are in English and Te Reo Maori.

The designer of New Zealand's honours insignia

The various insignia of New Zealand's Orders has been designed by Phillip O’Shea, CNZM, CVO, New Zealand Herald of Arms Extraordinary to The Queen.  He also designed the New Zealand Gallantry and Bravery Awards (except for the Victoria Cross for New Zealand) and many other official medals.