Wearing Medals with pride on Anzac Day

Lieutenant General Rhys Jones explains his medal ribbons to Dylan Stanley Judson

The Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Rhys Jones and five year old Dylan Judson - the great great great grandson of Stanley Judson VC, discuss their medals.

The New Zealand Defence Force is pleased that so many members of the public will join them wearing medals on Anzac Day and have provided some guidance about how medals can be worn with pride.

The rules governing medal wearing in New Zealand known as the Order of Wear specifically allows family members to wear medals of the deceased on the right side for national days of memorial like Anzac Day and Remembrance Day (11 November) and other notable events.

The Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Rhys Jones says: "I am delighted to observe a large number of people wearing their relative’s medals to Anzac Day services. By doing so they are reinforcing their relative’s mana and honouring their memory by wearing these medals ‘on parade with their mates’ again. We encourage this practice within the dress conventions agreed to.

"Serving members of the NZ Defence Force are also allowed to wear their deceased relatives medals while in uniform on this day, under the same convention."

Conventions for wearing a relative’s medals include:

People should only wear one set of medals and they should be directly related to their family, for example, should have belonged to a brother or sister, dad or mum, grandfather or grandmother.

In all cases these are worn on the right chest.

Only service medals and decorations mounted on a medal bar (full-size or miniature) can be worn by a relative. It is perfectly acceptable for people to wear miniature medals mounted on a medal bar as the weight is far easier to handle.

Royal Honours insignia such as neck badges, sashes, sash badges, or breast stars cannot be worn by anyone other than the original recipient. The same rule applies to any Unit and Personal Commendations that the deceased wore on their right chest.

The occasions on which wearing of relatives medals is permitted are confined to Anzac Day (25 April) and Remembrance Day (11 November). In addition, it may be appropriate for next-of-kin and other relatives to wear relative's medals on an occasion where either the relative's service or the unit in which they served is being commemorated.

Lieutenant General Jones reminds ex-service people that their medals should be mounted and worn in exactly the same manner as if they were in uniform, on the left chest.

"Anzac Day is a day in which as a country we commemorate the efforts of ordinary New Zealanders in the service of their country. The wearing of medals is a tradition that links our past, with those serving today."

For more information about medals please go to


This page was last reviewed on 28 May 2012.