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The New Zealand Antarctic Medal: Nomination Guidelines

These guidelines outline the process for making a nomination for an award of The New Zealand Antarctic Medal.

Part One describes how the process works. Part Two describes how to make a nomination. Part Three gives contact details for further information.

Part One: How the process works


The New Zealand Antarctic Medal (‘the Medal’) is part of the New Zealand Royal Honours System, which is administered by the Honours Unit in the Cabinet Office, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. The Honours Unit receives nominations for the Medal and liaises with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Environment Division to convene an Antarctic Medal Committee (‘the Committee’) to review the nominations.

The Committee takes a number of factors into account when considering nominations, including the Royal Warrant for the Medal, the associated regulations, and previous awards of the Medal. The Honours Unit reports the Committee’s findings to the Prime Minister, who makes the final decision on awards of the Medal.

Note: This process is similar to that used for other New Zealand Royal Honours such as the New Zealand Bravery Awards.


The Governor-General has delegated authority from The Queen to give informal approval to awards of the Medal. Once this is granted, the Governor-General’s Official Secretary writes to the nominees to see if they will accept an award of the Medal (this is known as ‘sounding’). If they accept, the Prime Minister seeks formal approval from The Queen. Once formal approval is received, the Honours Unit arranges the announcement of the awards.


Awards of the Medal are usually made as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, or the New Year Honours List. Awards may also be made as part of a Special Honours List, a one-off honours list that can be published at any time. The Lists are published on the Honours Unit section, the Governor-General’s website, and in the New Zealand Gazette. All Lists are confidential until they are published.


Recipients are awarded their Medal at an investiture by the Governor-General. Investitures are usually held at Government House Auckland or Government House Wellington, several months after the Honours List has been announced.

Part Two: How to make a nomination

Before you start

It is recommended that you read the Royal Warrant for ‘The New Zealand Antarctic Medal’ (SR 2006/278) and associated regulations ‘The New Zealand Antarctic Medal Regulations 2006’ (SR 2006/279), available at

Some key points to note:

  • The Medal is given to “those persons who make 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 Antarctica”. Your nominee must have made an outstanding contribution in one or more of these areas of endeavour. Performance of employment duties would be insufficient unless your nominee had faced unforeseen and considerable hazard and difficulty, or far exceeded the requirements of their role.
  • Any New Zealand citizen, or citizen from a country which has the Queen as its Head of State, is eligible for the Medal. People from other countries are eligible for an honorary Medal. However, there should be a strong New Zealand connection.
  • The Medal is not awarded for acts of bravery, for short-term acts of extreme endurance, for long service, or for service to Antarctica generally.
  • The Antarctic region is defined as the “Ross Dependency and all other areas south of latitude 60degS”. Your nominee will probably have had significant on-ice experience.
  • Your nominee may be still active in their field, or have relatively recent active experience. Posthumous awards can be made in cases where the nominee is recently deceased but had recent active experience.

Nomination form

You must complete a nomination form (available in PDF and Word versions).

You should add two or more supporting letters from other people or organisations, to add depth to your nomination.

Note: The information that you provide, both in the nomination form and the supporting letters, should aim to describe the outstanding contribution that your nominee has made.


The nomination process is entirely confidential. You should not tell your nominee you are nominating them. It is unfair to raise expectations, should the nomination be unsuccessful.


There are no deadlines for making a nomination. We will accept a nomination at any time and will ensure it is considered at the next possible opportunity. The Antarctic Medal Committee does not meet on a regular basis, but is convened when required.

What happens next?

You will receive an acknowledgement letter advising you that your nomination has been received, and will be considered in due course.

Part Three: Further information

For further information, please contact the Honours Unit in the first instance:

Phone: 04 830 5011
Post: Honours Unit, Cabinet Office, Executive Wing, Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6011

Last updated: 
Sunday, 25 June 2017

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