In Sepetember 2006, Prime Minister Helen Clark recently announced that the Queen has approved the institution of The New Zealand Antarctic Medal.
The new medal replaces the British Polar Medal and continues the tradition
begun in 1904 of recognising the significant contribution which New
Zealanders have made, and continue to make, to the protection and
Helen Clark said that the criteria for the award of the Medal were developed
in close consultation with those organisations with a close interest in the
The Medal may be awarded to New Zealanders and other persons who either
individually or as members of the New Zealand programme in the Antarctic
region have made an outstanding contribution to either exploration, scientific
research, conservation, environmental protection, or knowledge of the
Antarctic region, or in support of New Zealandıs objectives or operations, or
both, in Antarctica.
The New Zealand Antarctic Medal is an important addition to New Zealand's
honours system. The first recipients will be announced in the 2007 New Years
The New Zealand Antarctic Medal has been instituted as a New Zealand Royal
Honour to replace the (British) Polar Medal. The Polar Medal was instituted in
1904 and awarded to those who had made notable contributions to the
exploration and knowledge of Polar Regions and who, in doing so, had
undergone the hazards and rigours imposed by the Polar environment to life
and movement, whether by land, sea or air.
The 1995 Prime Ministerıs Honours Advisory Committee recommended that
the Polar Medal should be retained and constituted under a New Zealand
Royal Warrant. It also recommended that consideration should be given to
renaming or reconstituting this award as ³The Antarctic Medal² to reflect the
fact that it is relation to Antarctica that New Zealandıs endeavours and
achievements have been made. Following consultation with interested
groups, The New Zealand Antarctic Medal was formally instituted by The
Queen on 1 September 2006.
The New Zealand Antarctic Medal may be awarded to those New Zealanders
and other persons who either individually or as members of a New Zealand
programme in the Antarctic region have made an outstanding contribution to
exploration, scientific research, conservation, environmental protection, or
knowledge of the Antarctic region; or in support of New Zealand's objectives
or operations, or both, in the Antarctic region. The Medal will not be awarded
for acts of bravery, for short-term acts of extreme endurance, for long
service or for service in Antarctica generally. A full list of those awarded the NZAM can be found here...
The New Zealand Antarctic Medal ranks as a sixth level award and takes
precedence immediately following The Queen's Service Medal. Recipients
may use the letters ³NZAM² after their name.
The Medal is struck in Sterling Silver and retains the octagonal shape
and white ribbon of the Polar Medal. The obverse bears the effigy of the Queen by Ian Rank-Broadley, FRBS, FSNAD, of the United Kingdom and the inscription Elizabeth II Queen of New
Zealand. This effigy is also used on the New Zealand Gallantry and Bravery
Awards. The reverse design shows a group of four Emperor Penguins on an Antarctic
landscape with Mt Erebus in the background. The design of The New Zealand Antarctic Medal is the work of the New
Zealand Herald of Arms, Phillip O'Shea, CNZM, LVO.
The Medal may be awarded posthumously.
Announcement of Awards
Awards of the New Zealand Antarctic Medal will normally be announced in
the regular New Year and Queenıs Birthday Honours Lists.
A distinctive Lapel Badge, for everyday wear, is issued to living recipients.
This is in line with the lapel Badges and policy adopted for the various other
distinctive New Zealand honours.