New Zealand Order of Merit

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The New Zealand Order of Merit (German " New Zealand Order of Merit ") is a New Zealand order of knights, which was founded on May 30, 1996 by Queen Elizabeth II in her capacity as Queen of New Zealand .

Badge of the New Zealand Order of Merit
Band of the New Zealand Order of Merit

Order structure

The order comprises five classes, arranged according to ranks:

The totality of the members of the order is divided into a civil and a military division ( Civil Division and Military Division ), the band of the Military Division having a gray median strip in all degrees, which is missing in the Civil Division .


Sovereign of the New Zealand Order of Merit is the respective New Zealand monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II. He alone determines the other members of the order, usually after consultation with or on the proposal of the government. The second highest position is held by the Chancellor . This is always the Governor General of New Zealand .

The number of Knights or Dames Grand Companions is limited to a total of 30 living people. Normal awards and thus memberships may only be awarded in a certain number. Accordingly, a maximum of 15 Knight or Dame Companions, 40 Companions, 80 Officers and 140 Members may be appointed each year. Honorary and additional memberships are not taken into account. The normal awards are available to all Commonwealth Realms citizens . Foreigners are given honorary awards; should a foreigner later become a citizen of a Commonwealth Realm state, he or she may be reclassified as an additional membership.

The order has four offices: Chancellor, Secretary, Registrar, Herald of Arms . The Herald is not a member of the College of Arms , but works closely with it.


The order was founded "for those persons who rendered praiseworthy service in any form to the crown and the nation or who have distinguished themselves through their reputation, their talents, their contributions or other merits". The order replaces the Order of the Bath , Order of St. Michael and St. George , Order of the British Empire , Order of the Companions of Honor as well as the Knight Bachelor as a result of the reorganization of the New Zealand award system in 1996.

The "Knight Grand Companion" (or Principal Companion) has taken the place of the "Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George," usually given to the Governor General of New Zealand. The motto of the order is "For Merit / Tohu Hiranga".

Hierarchy and privileges

The members of the Order are given a position in the Protocolary Ranking in New Zealand ( Order of Precedence ), a ranking list in which the registered persons are classified according to their nominal importance and which plays an important role in ceremonial events. Wives of male members are also accepted there; also sons, daughters and daughters-in-law of Knights Grand Companion and Knights Companion. In contrast, relatives of a female member are not included in the list.

The first two classes of the order are associated with an ennoblement as a knight . The Knights Grand Companion and the Knights Companion are therefore authorized to use the predicate Sir in front of their first names; Dames Grand Companion and Dames Companion carry the title lady . Knights wives may use the suffix Lady before their surname; there is no comparable privilege for the husbands of the ladies. Honorary (foreign) members also do not use these suffixes, while clergymen use them differently than in the UK.

Knights and Dames Grand Companion are authorized to include a shield holder in their coat of arms . They are also allowed to have a ring showing the order's motto in their coat of arms. Knights and Dames Companion are only allowed to show the bracelet in their coat of arms. The chancellor of the order is also authorized to include the order chain in his coat of arms.

Temporary abolition of the knighthood of the upper classes

Since the foundation of the order there have been debates in New Zealand as to whether the knighthood associated with the first two order classes is still appropriate. Under Prime Minister Helen Clark and her Labor Party , the knighthood of the order was abolished in April 2000. For this purpose, the Knight / Dame Grand Companion class was renamed Principal Companion (PCNZM) and the Knight / Dame Companion class was renamed Distinguished Companion (DCNZM) for future awards and the right to add the name Sir or Dame was no longer applicable . This in turn was criticized by the opposition parties , above all Richard Prebble of the ACT New Zealand Party, who made fun of the fact that the letters of the abbreviation PCNZM stood for "a Politically Correct New Zealand that used to be a Monarchy" politically correct New Zealand that used to be a monarchy ").

The New Zealand National Party included this aspect in its electoral manifesto and promised that if it came to power they would reverse the Labor Party's move and reinstate the knighthood. This then happened in May 2009 through Prime Minister John Key . Principal Companions and Distinguished Companions appointed in the meantime were given the opportunity to subsequently apply for the knighthood. Since then, Knights / Dames Grand Companion and Knights / Dames Companion have been appointed again.


  • The Collane is a gold chain of interconnected links, with traditional New Zealand Koru patterns , with the New Zealand coat of arms in the middle with the medal hanging on it. It is worn only by the sovereign and chancellor of the order.
  • The eight-pointed breast star for Knights or Dames Grand Companion is gold, for Knights or Dames Companion it is silver. The medal is in the middle.
  • The order of the three highest ranks is a gold and white enamel cross with curved edges. On the central plate is the coat of arms of New Zealand , surrounded by a green enamel ring with the embossed order motto. The tip forms a crown. The badges for officers and members are similar, but made of pure gold or silver. Knights or Dames Grand Companion wear the medal on a sash around their right shoulder; Knights or Dames Companions and Companions wear the award as a neck medal (men) or on a bow on the left shoulder (women). Officers and members wear the medal on a ribbon on the left chest (men) or on a bow on the left shoulder (women).
  • The ribbon and the sash are ocher.

Important members of the order

Web links

Commons : New Zealand Order of Merit  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Titles discontinued . April 10, 2000. Retrieved October 23, 2018. 
  2. ^ Additional Statutes of The New Zealand Order of Merit (SR 2000/84) . Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  3. Titular Honors to be reinstated . In: Beehive . New Zealand Government , March 9, 2009, accessed May 5, 2019 .