The New Zealand Bravery Awards are designed to recognise the actions of those persons who save or attempt to save the life of another person and in the course of which they place their own safety or life at risk.
The awards are primarily for civilians but may be awarded to military personnel for acts for which Gallantry or other awards are not appropriate.
The level of an award is generally determined by the nature of the incident which has resulted in an act of bravery, the degree of risk to the life of the person performing the act and his or her personal skills or qualifications relevant to the incident, and whether the actions were taken with disregard for his or her own safely.
The bravery awards, instituted by a Royal Warrant dated 20 September 1999, are:
- The New Zealand Cross (NZC)
"For acts of great bravery in situations of extreme danger".
- The New Zealand Bravery Star (NZBS)
"For acts of outstanding bravery in situations of danger".
- The New Zealand Bravery Decoration (NZBD)
"For acts of exceptional bravery in situations of danger".
- The New Zealand Bravery Medal (NZBM)
"For acts of bravery".
See the list of those awarded a New Zealand Bravery Award since 1999.
Nominations may be made by any person or persons, by completing a nomination form and forwarding it to the Honours Unit of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. In-depth guidelines for making a nomination and the nomination form are available for download below.
Click here to download the Bravery Award Nomination Form: Microsoft Word (DOC 47 kB)
Click here to download the Guide to Nominations for New Zealand Bravery Awards: (PDF 219 KB)
Design of Awards
The New Zealand Cross is similar in design to the original New Zealand Cross instituted by the Government in 1869 for award for acts of bravery during the land wars of the nineteenth century. The design has been amended by including gold New Zealand fern fronds (replacing gold laurel leaves) and the current Royal Crown (St Edward’s Crown) (replacing a Victorian crown). The cross is made of silver and gold. The original New Zealand Cross was instituted by an Order in Council, and later sanctioned by Queen Victoria, in 1869. It was for acts of bravery during the New Zealand Land Wars 1860-1872. In 1895, it was proposed that the New Zealand Cross should be extended to cover acts of bravery by civilians, but this did not eventuate.
The New Zealand Bravery Star is a silver eight-pointed star (with four long and four short points). The design is the reverse of the shape of the New Zealand Cross.
The New Zealand Bravery Decoration is a silver cross of similar shape to the New Zealand Cross.
The New Zealand Bravery Medal is a bronze medal bearing on the obverse (front) the effigy of The Queen.
All awards bear the inscription “FOR BRAVERY – MO TE MAIA” on the reverse.
The ribbon of the New Zealand Cross is bright blue, a colour traditionally associated with bravery awards. The ribbons for the other awards are bright blue with either two, three or four red ochre (kokowai) additional stripes for the second, third and fourth levels accordingly.
The New Zealand Cross is engraved with the recipient's full name and date of award on the reverse of the suspender bar. The New Zealand Bravery Star and New Zealand Bravery Decoration have the recipient's name engraved in capital letters on the reverse, along with the date of award. The New Zealand Bravery Medal has the recipient's name engraved in capital letters on the rim of the medal, along with the date of award.
A distinctive lapel badge, for everyday wear, is issued to living recipients of the Bravery Awards. This is in line with the Lapel Badges and policy adopted for the various other distinctive New Zealand honours.
Find more information about the design and manufacture of the Gallantry and Bravery Awards.