Story: Royal honours system

New Zealand design elements: GNZM and PCNZM breast star (2nd of 3)

New Zealand design elements: GNZM and PCNZM breast star

The insignia of each of the levels of the New Zealand Order of Merit are different and are worn in various ways, but all feature a cross with a medallion in the centre showing the design from the shield of the New Zealand coat of arms. The medallion is surrounded by a circle of green enamel, representing New Zealand’s prized pounamu (greenstone or jade) and containing the motto of the order: ‘For merit’ in English, and ‘Tohu hiranga’ in Māori. The gold breast star for knights and dames grand companion and principal companions, shown here, has eight fern frond arms inspired by the crown of a tree fern, with the badge of the order superimposed.

Courtesy of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Using this item

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Photograph by Marguerite Hill

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Mandy Wong, 'Royal honours system - The Order of New Zealand and New Zealand Order of Merit', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 23 April 2024)

Story by Mandy Wong, published 20 Jun 2012