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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



Number of Crosses Struck

The dies of the New Zealand Cross had been left in the hands of Phillips the goldsmith who completed an order for a further five crosses in 1886, making a total of 25 struck ostensibly for awards. A few suitably engraved specimens were authorised to be struck for the Royal Mint Museum and eminent medal collectors in England, but the dies passed through two other hands before they were recovered by the Agent-General in 1908. In the intervening years a number of unauthorised specimens were struck, two of which are known to have been engraved so as to appear as the authentic decorations of Constable Black and Trooper Lingard, but are in fact spurious as they do not bear the Phillip's cartouche, and the originals still exist. The Phillip's cartouche was affixed on the reverse of the suspender clasp of the original 20 crosses made in 1871, but was omitted from the five made in 1886. The dies were returned to New Zealand in 1953 and deposited with the Dominion Museum, Wellington.

In 1885 the Premier proposed that the New Zealand Cross be extended for award to those who by outstanding bravery were responsible for saving human life. It was suggested that, to distinguish such awards from the military crosses, the stars be omitted from the cross and the ribbon be of a different colour. This proposal was rejected when it was found that the medal of the Royal Humane Society of Australasia, instituted in 1882, was available for rewarding bravery of this nature.

Although the Order in Council instituting the New Zealand Cross has never been annulled, it is unlikely that it will ever be invoked to make any further awards. Apart from the more general availability of the Victoria Cross since 1881, the various forces upon which the New Zealand Cross could be conferred have all been disbanded, the Armed Constabulary in 1886, and the Militia and the Volunteers in 1911.

New Zealand Crosses, either as genuine awards or specimens, are held by the following museums and notable collections: The Royal Collection, Windsor Castle; The House of Commons, Westminster; The Royal Mint Museum, London; The British Army Medal Office Collection, Droitwich; Dominion Museum, Wellington; Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington; United Services Officers' Club, Wellington; War Memorial Museum, Auckland; Hawke's Bay Museum, Napier; Taranaki Museum, New Plymouth; Otago Museum, Dunedin; Te Awamutu Museum, Te Awamutu; Melbourne Museum, Australia; Los Angeles County Museum, U.S.A.; and the American Numismatic Society's Collection, New York, U.S.A.