Knight/Dame Companion Breast Star
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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 Knight/Dame Companion grade is limited to 15 members annually. Knight Companions are entitled to use the formal title “Sir” and Dame Commanders are entitled to use the formal title “Dame.” Knight Commanders are entitled to use the post-nominal letters KNZM, while Dame Commanders are entitled to use the post-nominal letters DNZM.
From 2000-2008 the Knight/Dame Companion was called the Distinguished Companion. No formal titles were used during this period, but members could use the post-nominal letters DCNZM.
The Knight/Dame Companion Breast Star features an obverse inscription in both English and Maori.
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