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RULES RELATING TO THE ACCEPTANCE AND WEARING OF COMMONWEALTH, FOREIGN AND INTERNATIONAL HONOURS BY NEW ZEALAND CITIZENS

Her Majesty The Queen has approved the following rules relating to the acceptance and wearing of Commonwealth, foreign and international honours by New Zealand citizens.

These rules were signed by Prime Minister Helen Clark on 23 July 2007.

Interpretation

    1. For the purpose of these rules, unless otherwise stated,

      Commonwealth country” means a country of which The Queen is Head of State, excluding New Zealand but including the United Kingdom.

      Foreign country” means a country of which The Queen is not Head of State.

      Honour” means any Order, Decoration, Medal or commendation conferred by a Head of State, head of government or recognised international organisation.

      Persons in the service of the Crown” means members of the Executive Council, members of Parliament, members of the Judiciary, employees of public service departments, employees of non-public service departments (including the New Zealand Defence Force and the New Zealand Police), Officers of Parliament, and members of the New Zealand diplomatic service, and includes persons in the service of the Crown on a temporary, part-time or contract basis.

      Insignia” means the badge or star, or both, of an Order.

      Official uniform” means any uniform provided for the wear of a person in the service of the Crown.

      Title” means an appellation acquired by a person on receipt of an honour.

      Worn as” means in accordance with the “Order of Wear: Orders, Decorations and Medals in New Zealand ”, as approved from time to time.

Authority and Reservation

2. The Queen has:

a. delegated authority to the Governor-General of New Zealand, on the advice of the Prime Minister, to approve the acceptance and wearing of any foreign honour by a New Zealand citizen;

b. delegated authority to the Prime Minister of New Zealand to approve the acceptance and wearing of any Commonwealth honour by a New Zealand citizen;

c. reserved to Her Majesty approvals relating to the acceptance and wearing of Commonwealth and foreign honours by the Governor-General of New Zealand or the Administrator of the Government, or by members of their families;

d. delegated authority to the Governor-General of New Zealand, on the advice of the Prime Minister, to amend these Rules from time to time, with the exception of Rule 2 (a) to (c) above.

Commonwealth and Foreign Honours

Procedure for considering proposals to confer Commonwealth and foreign honours

3.  Before conferring a Commonwealth or foreign honour on a New Zealand citizen, the government of the country concerned should submit a proposal seeking approval through diplomatic channels to the Protocol Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which will pass the request to the Director of the Honours Unit, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

4.  Every proposal to confer a Commonwealth or foreign honour on a New Zealand citizen must be accompanied by a statement giving the full name and address of the citizen together with precise reasons for the proposed honour and the name of that honour.

5.  Each request will be considered on a case by case basis. The fact that a similar application has been approved in the past should not be taken as implying that permission will be granted in a subsequent case.

6.  In those situations where a Commonwealth or foreign honour is conferred without prior warning and approval, the recipient should contact the Director of the Honours Unit, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Factors relevant to the consideration of proposals to confer Commonwealth and foreign honours

7.  Subject to Rules 8 to 10, approval may be given for New Zealand citizens to accept and wear Commonwealth and foreign honours when an offer is made by a Head of State, government of a country or international organization which New Zealand recognises.

8.  A proposal to confer a Commonwealth or foreign honour may not be approved:

a. when the acceptance of the honour is judged to be contrary to New Zealand policy or interests;

b. in respect of an honour relating to services wholly rendered more than five years prior to the proposal to confer the honour;

c. when the application is made by the proposed recipient;

d. when the proposal is for an honour to be conferred by the Head of State or government of a country not recognized by The Queen of New Zealand;

e. for services which may have already been recognized by a New Zealand honour or for services for which a New Zealand honour is considered to be more appropriate.

Further rules applicable in certain cases

9.  In addition to Rules 3 to 8, the following Rules will apply in certain cases:

a. Persons in the service of the Crown. In the case of a person in the service of the Crown, approval to accept and wear a Commonwealth or foreign honour will not be given unless the honour relates to:

  1. an act of gallantry;
  2. an act of bravery in saving or attempting to save life;
  3. meritorious services on the part of a New Zealand citizen or member of the New Zealand Defence Force involved in operations while on exchange, attachment, interchange or loan duties with the armed forces of the country or international organisation making the proposal;
  4. services unrelated in any way to the person’s employment in the service of the Crown;
  5. special representation of The Queen of New Zealand or the Governor-General of New Zealand at such events as a state visit, coronation, wedding, funeral, independence celebrations or similar occasion;
  6. personal services to a Head of State or member of a Royal Family of a foreign or Commonwealth country during a state or official visit to New Zealand.

b.  Diplomatic personnel. New Zealand honours are not contemplated for Commonwealth and foreign diplomatic personnel accredited to New Zealand on their transfer or retirement. Similarly, proposals to confer Commonwealth or foreign honours on members of the New Zealand diplomatic or consular establishment abroad, when transferring from or leaving a post, will not be approved other than in the circumstances described in Rule 9(a).

c.  Employees of International Organisations. A proposal to confer a Commonwealth or foreign honour on a New Zealand citizen who is in the permanent employ of an international organisation, such as the United Nations Organisation, Commonwealth Secretariat, International Court of Justice, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and the European Union, will not be approved other than in circumstances similar to those set out in Rule 9(a).

10.  Notwithstanding Rules 3 to 9:

  1. approval to accept and wear a Commonwealth or foreign honour may be contemplated where, in the opinion of the approving authority, such approval is in the best interests of New Zealand;
  2. no approval is required for the acceptance by the next-of-kin or a family member of Commonwealth or foreign honours to a deceased person;
  3. no approval is required for the acceptance of any Commonwealth or foreign award if it is designed not to be worn. This includes such items as certificates of appreciation or commendation and commemorative medallions. 

Unit Citations and Commendations

11. The process for obtaining approval for the acceptance and wear of Unit Citations and Commendations by units of the New Zealand Defence Force or the New Zealand Police is the same as that for Commonwealth and foreign honours, except that the proposal must specify the unit or group to receive it. Approval, if granted, may permit the appropriate emblem to be accepted and worn:

a.  on the right side of the jacket as a “permanent dress distinction” on all occasions by those personnel who served in the unit during the period for which the citation or commendation was earned; or

b. as a “dress distinction” on the right side of the jacket on all occasions by personnel who serve with the unit outside of the period when the citation or commendation was earned, and then only while they serve in that unit. 

Commemoration, Including War Commemoration Medals

12. No approval is required for the acceptance and wearing of official medals issued by a Commonwealth or foreign country, or international organisation to commemorate previous military or operational service approved by the government, including peacekeeping operations, by former New Zealand military and other personnel. The wearing of such medals on official uniform by serving personnel of the New Zealand Defence Force requires the approval of the Chief of Defence Force.

13. The Director of the Honours Unit, Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet is, however, to be notified by the government of the Commonwealth or foreign country, through the Protocol Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, of the intention to award such medals prior to the award being announced.

Medals for Saving or Attempting to Save Life

14. No approval is required for the acceptance and wearing of medals for saving or attempting to save life conferred by a Commonwealth or foreign private life-saving society or institution. Medals are to be worn on the right side and may be worn on an official uniform with the approval of the head or chief executive of the employing authority. The wearing of such medals on official uniform by serving personnel of the New Zealand Defence Force requires the approval of the Chief of Defence Force.

Operational Service Medals Awarded by International Organisations

15. No approval is required for the acceptance and wearing of operational service medals awarded by any international organisation formally recognised by the New Zealand government, including the United Nations Organisation, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and the European Union.

16. The government agency of which the recipient is a member is, however, to notify the Director of the Honours Unit, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet of the award of such service medals.

Other Honours

17. International Committee of the Red Cross. No approval is required for the acceptance and wearing of the Florence Nightingale Memorial Medal (instituted 1912) of the International Committee of the Red Cross. The medal or ribbon denoting the same may be worn on the right side, including when in official uniform.

18. Orders of St John:

  1. The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem (established by British Royal Charter in 1888) (the “Order of St John”). No approval is required for the acceptance and wearing of the Order. Insignia of the Order of St John are worn in accordance with the New Zealand approved “Order of Wear”.
  2. The Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem, called of Rhodes , called of Malta (“the Sovereign Military Order of Malta ” or the “Order of Malta”). No approval is required for the acceptance and wearing of the insignia of the Order of Malta or the Order’s Order of Merit. The insignia of the Order, and the Order of Merit, may be worn as a foreign honour at the discretion of the holder. The insignia are not worn on an official uniform.
  3. Other Recognised Orders of St John. The insignia of the other mutually recognised Orders of St John are treated in the same manner as that of the Order of Malta.

19. Papal or Pontifical Honours of the Holy See (The Vatican). No approval is required for the acceptance and wearing of Papal honours or those under the protection of the Holy See, for services to the Holy See or the Roman Catholic Church, or both. Papal honours are worn as a foreign honour. The insignia are not worn on an official uniform.

20. Foreign Titles. New Zealand does not recognize foreign titles of nobility (other than those previously recognised by the Crown under a British Royal Warrant dated 27 April 1932). A foreign citizen holding a title shall cease to use the title in question on becoming a New Zealand citizen.

21. Honours conferred by the head of a former reigning Royal House of a foreign country. No approval is required for the acceptance and wearing of an honour conferred by the head of a former reigning Royal House of a foreign country as a personal honour. Such honours are worn at the discretion of the recipient, but may not be worn on an official uniform.

22. Honours from private organisations. Other than awards for saving or attempting to save life covered by Rule 14, permission will not be given to wear honours from Commonwealth or foreign private organisations.

Change of Citizenship

23. No approval is required to continue to wear a Commonwealth or foreign honour received by a person before they became a New Zealand citizen.

Persons in a uniformed service of the Crown

24. A naturalised New Zealand citizen in a uniformed service of the Crown (e.g. New Zealand Defence Force, New Zealand Police, New Zealand Customs Service and the Public Prisons Service, Department of Corrections) is to seek the permission of the head or chief executive of the agency of which the recipient is a member, such as the Chief of the Defence Force or Commissioner of Police, to wear a foreign honour or ribbon denoting the same on an official uniform.

25. Applications to the agency of which the recipient is a member for permission to wear a foreign honour should be accompanied by proof of entitlement to the honour in question. The agency is under no obligation to approve the wearing of an honour:

a. where it may give rise to an objection (e.g. for the wearing of an honour issued by a country while it was in armed conflict with New Zealand); or

b. was issued by a country which at the time of the award was not recognised by the New Zealand government; or

c. was issued by a foreign private institution.

26. The agency of which the recipient is a member, in considering an application to wear a foreign honour, may determine that the honour or ribbon denoting the same may only be worn on an official uniform on those occasions specifically connected with the foreign country or whilst in the country concerned.

27. The approval of the agency of which the recipient is a member is not required in the case of Commonwealth honours.

Register of Commonwealth and Foreign Honours

28. The Director of the Honours Unit, Cabinet Office, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet shall:

a. maintain a register of those approvals made by The Queen, Governor-General and Prime Minister; and

b. issue a notification for each approval granted by The Queen, Governor-General and Prime Minister;

c. maintain a register of all official Commonwealth and foreign Commemoration Medals issued to New Zealanders and notified in accordance with Rules 12 and 13;

d. maintain a register of all medals issued by the United Nations, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the European Union and any other recognised International Organisation to members of the New Zealand Defence Force and other government agencies issued and notified in accordance with Rules 15 and 16.

Approvals Granted Prior to 1 August 2007

29. Approvals for the acceptance and wearing of Commonwealth and foreign honours, whether unrestricted or restricted permission to accept and wear, granted prior to 1 August 2007 shall not be affected by these Rules.

Application of Rules (Commencement)

30. These rules shall:

  1. take effect from 1 August 2007 and apply to all applications to accept and wear a Commonwealth or foreign honour received on or after that date; and
  2. be administered by the Honours Unit, Cabinet Office, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

 23 July 2007