The New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration
The New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration (DSD) was instituted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2007 to recognise distinguished military service by regular, territorial and reserve members of the New Zealand Defence Force, including command, leadership and service in an operational environment, or in support of operations. The DSD may be awarded to all military ranks of the New Zealand Defence Force, or uniformed members of allied forces operating with or alongside units of the New Zealand Defence Force.
The Decoration is made of Sterling Silver. The obverse design is a representation of eight blades of a Kotiate (lobed club) in a circle with a St Edward’s Crown (Royal Crown) in the centre. The front four blades are frosted silver, the rear blades are polished silver. The reverse bears the inscriptions “FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE” and “MO NGA TE MAHI KAHURANGI”.
The ribbon is Blue and Red, with two narrow Yellow stripes that signify ‘achievement’. Red and Blue are traditional military colours and have been used for medal ribbons since the first Military General Service Medal (1793 - 1814), the Waterloo Medal (1815) and the (British) Distinguished Service Order.
A Kotiate or “liver cutter” is a lobed, or fiddle-shaped, war club made of hard wood or bone, the blades of which may be plain or decoratively carved. This type of club was used as both a weapon and an item of personal adornment. In addition, it was used to reflect status, rank, authority, pride, mana or ceremonial importance, similar to the use of military swords.