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
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Photograph by Marguerite Hill
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