New Zealand Order of Merit, Grand Companion Breast Star
Image courtesy of Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet of New Zealand
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The New Zealand Order of Merit was established by Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of New Zealand, by Royal Warrant on May 30, 1996. The Order was created to recognize outstanding and meritorious civil and military service to the Crown and nation and is awarded in the name of the Queen of New Zealand.
The Order is composed of Ordinary Members, Additional Members, and Honorary Members. Ordinary membership is conferred upon New Zealand or Commonwealth citizens, while Honorary membership is conferred upon foreigners. Additional members may be appointed to the Order on special occasions.
Membership of the Grand Companion grade is limited to 30 living members. Knight Grand Companions are entitled to use the formal title “Sir” and Dame Grand Commanders are entitled to use the formal title “Dame.” Both Knight and Dame Commanders are entitled to use the post-nominal letters GNZM.
From 2000-2008 the Grand Companion was called the Principal Companion. No formal titles were used during this period, but members could use the post-nominal letters PCNZM.
The Grand Companion Breast Star features an obverse inscription in both English and Maori.
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