1.55The New Zealand Royal Honours system provides a way for New Zealand to thank and congratulate people who have served their communities and to recognise people's achievements. Further information on all aspects of the honours system is available on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's website.
1.56The New Zealand Royal Honours system comprises:
- The Order of New Zealand (ONZ);
- The New Zealand Order of Merit (NZOM);
- The Queen's Service Order (QSO) and its associated Queen's Service Medal (QSM);
- New Zealand Gallantry Awards;
- New Zealand Bravery Awards;
- The New Zealand Antarctic Medal (NZAM); and
- The New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration (DSD).
1.57Besides these core elements, the armed forces and uniformed services also have medals for their personnel, which those agencies administer. For a complete list of all the orders, decorations, and medals that are officially part of the New Zealand Royal Honours system, see the honours listed in the Order of Wear, available on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's website.
1.58New Zealand Royal Honours are conferred by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister. They are usually announced in regular honours lists on the New Zealand observance of the Sovereign's Birthday (the first Monday in June) and at the New Year (30-31 December). Gallantry and Bravery Awards are usually announced in special honours lists.
1.59The New Zealand Royal Honours system is administered by the Honours Unit, which is part of the Cabinet Office. The Unit is also responsible for all matters relating to:
- use of the titles “The Right Honourable” and “The Honourable”;
- acceptance of foreign honours by New Zealand citizens; and
- general honours policy, including establishment of new honours and awards.
1.60Any person may make a nomination for an honour by completing the appropriate nomination form and submitting it to either the Prime Minister or the Honours Unit. A Cabinet committee chaired by the Prime Minister considers all nominations for the regular honours lists, on the basis of a consolidated list of nominations prepared by the Honours Unit.
1.61Honours nominations are accepted throughout the year, but the processing and consideration of nominations is likely to take at least six months preceding the announcement of an honours list (see paragraph 1.58).
1.62Further information about the nomination process can be found on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's website.
New Zealand Royal Honours for non-New Zealand citizens
1.63New Zealand citizens and citizens of nations of which the Sovereign is head of state are eligible to receive appointments to the Order of New Zealand, New Zealand Order of Merit, and the Queen's Service Order.
1.64People who are not New Zealand citizens or citizens of nations of which the Sovereign is head of state are eligible to receive honorary appointments to the Order of New Zealand, New Zealand Order of Merit, and the Queen's Service Order. They may be nominated for these honours in the usual way.
Forfeiture of honours
1.65The Prime Minister may advise the Sovereign to cancel the appointment or the award of a New Zealand Royal Honour where an individual's actions are such that, if they continue to hold that honour, the honours system would be brought into disrepute.
1.66A person can also resign their New Zealand Royal Honour voluntarily. In such a case, the Prime Minister would inform the Sovereign and advise them to cancel the individual's honour.
1.67Further information on the forfeiture of New Zealand Royal Honours can be found on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's website.
“The Right Honourable” and “The Honourable”
1.69Before August 2010, the title “The Right Honourable” was associated with appointment to the United Kingdom's Privy Council. People entitled to use the title “The Right Honourable” who are also members of the Privy Council may use the letters “PC” after their name to denote this membership. New Zealand appointments to the Privy Council ceased informally from 2000, and formally from August 2010.
1.70The 2010 rules provide that the title “The Right Honourable” (abbreviated to “The Rt Hon”) is granted to, and may be used by, the Governor-General, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Chief Justice. This entitlement is retained for life.
1.71Members of the Executive Council and Judges of the High Court (including Judges of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal) are entitled to use the title “The Honourable” (abbreviated to “The Hon”) while they hold office, if they do not already have the title “The Right Honourable”.
1.72On relinquishing office, or on retirement from office, the holders of the offices in paragraph 1.71 are eligible to be recommended for retention of the title for life. The Governor-General may approve the retention of the title under authority delegated by the Sovereign and on the advice of the Prime Minister.
1.73Further information about the titles “The Right Honourable” and “The Honourable” is available from the Honours Unit.
Acceptance of foreign honours by New Zealand citizens
1.74Commonwealth and other foreign governments or international organisations may on occasion wish to confer an honour on a New Zealand citizen. The Sovereign has approved rules relating to the acceptance and wearing of foreign honours by New Zealand citizens. These rules are available on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's website.
1.75Enquiries should be directed to the Honours Unit or the Protocol Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.