New Zealand Royal Honours

The Order of NZ Badge
The Badge of the Order of New Zealand, our country’s highest honour.

The Governor-General, on behalf of the Queen, holds investiture ceremonies for the people named in the New Year and The Queen's Birthday Honours Lists and in Special Honours Lists.  Except for those honours that are in The Queen's personal gift, all awards are made on the advice of the Prime Minister.

New Zealand's highest honour is the The Order of New Zealand (ONZ), with a maximum ordinary membership of 20. The Order was instituted by Royal Warrant in 1987 and is awarded for "outstanding service to the Crown and people of New Zealand in a civil or military capacity".

The New Zealand Order of Merit was instituted by Royal Warrant in 1996 (amended in 2009) and replaced imperial awards that are conferred in Britain.  It is awarded to those "who in any field of endeavour have rendered meritorious service to the Crown and nation or who have become distinguished by their eminence, talents, contributions or other merits".   There are five classes to the New Zealand Order of Merit: Knight or Dame Grand Companion (GNZM); Knight or Dame Companion (KNZM or DNZM); Companion (CNZM); Officer (ONZM); and Member (MNZM). No more than 30 people may belong to the class of Knight or Dame Grand Companion at any one time.

Between 2000 and 2009, the highest two classes in the Order were the Principal Companion (PCNZM) and Distinguished Companion (DCNZM).  Under changes instituted by the Amended Royal Warrant in 2009, which reinstated titular honours, Principal Companions could elect to be redesignated as as Knight or Dame Grand Companion and Distinguished Companions could elect to be redesignated as a Knight or Dame Companion.  Those who elected not to be redesignated remain Principal or Distinguished Companions of the Order, and retain their existing privileges and styles.

A third New Zealand honour is The Queen's Service Order (QSO) and the associated Queen's Service Medal (QSM), which was instituted in Royal Warrant in 1975 (updated in 2007).   It is awarded to those "who have rendered either, or both: valuable voluntary service to the community; or meritorious and faithful services to the Crown or similar services within the public sector, whether in elected or appointed office".

The New Zealand Gallantry Awards recognise those military, and certain other categories of support personnel, who perform acts of gallantry while involved in war and operational service, including peacekeeping.   The New Zealand Bravery Awards recognise the actions of those persons who save or attempt to save the life of another person and in the course of which they place their own safety or life at risk.  

Other New Zealand Honours include the New Zealand Antarctic Medal and the Distinguished Service Decoration.

New Zealanders wanting to nominate a person for public recognition can submit recommendations and their reasons to the Prime Minister or the Honours Unit by completing its online nomination form.  Printed nomination forms are available from the offices of members of Parliament and from the Honours Unit in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in Wellington.

Tours of Government House Wellington for the public, schools and community groups are offered by our Visitor Centre.

Find out more.


  • Global Women International Women's Day Event
  • HM The Queen's Message to Christchurch
  • The Bledisloe Address - Waitangi Day 2017
  • Dame Patsy's New Year Message
    Dame Patsy Reddy - New Year Message
  • New Year Honours List 2017
  • Message from HRH The Prince of Wales
  • Message from HM The Queen regarding the North Canterbury earthquake
  • Messages from the Governor-General and Dutch King and Queen
  • Swearing-In Ceremony
  • Armorial Bearings - Sir Jerry Mateparae
  • Bledisloe Ballot 2017
  • Beer Braised Beef Cheeks
  • Queen approves honours for the Governor-General Designate
  • Boots the Cat - The Biography
  • The Governor-General's Anzac of the Year Award 2016
  • New Year Message
  • A Ceremony of Welcome in New Zealand
  • Charlotte Royale cake recipe
  • Charlotte Royale recipe - in honour of Princess Charlotte
  • Prince Harry - Visit Itinerary
  • Amazing Easter Wreath
  • The Governor-General's Anzac of the Year Award
  • Bledisloe Garden Reception 2015
  • New Year Message
  • Christmas Eccles Cakes
  • State Banquet for the President of China
  • Grilled Turbot Fillet and Cwmglyn Rarebit
  • The Governor-General and Government Formation After the Election
  • Government House Recipes - Orange and Olive Oil Syrup Cake
  • New Year message - 2014
    Governor-General's 2014 New Year message
  • New Year Honours 2014
    Queen honours New Zealand's best
  • Nelson Mandela
    Governor-General pays tribute to South African leader
  • Niue and the Cook Islands
    Visits reaffirm special relationships within the Realm of New Zealand
  • Badge of the General Fono of Tokelau
    Governor-General hosts ceremony at Government House
  • Leadership Week
    Governor-General leads the Sir Peter Blake Trust Dream Team
  • Matariki 2013
    Governor-General recognises the contribution of women
  • Coronation Diamond Jubilee
    The Governor-General looks back at the Queen's 1953 Coronation
  • AIDS Candlelight Memorial
    Message from the Governor-General
  • South Canterbury and North Otago Regional Visit
    20-23 February: An overview
  • Waitangi Day - 2013
    Governor-General and Lady Janine visit Waitangi and Auckland
  • New Year Message 2013
    Governor-General issues his 2013 New Year message
  • New Year Honours 2013
    New Zealanders recognised by The Queen of New Zealand
  • Birthday cake
    Secrets of Government House birthday cake revealed
  • Diamond Jubilee visit
    Royal couple to visit Auckland, Wellington, Manawatu and Christchurch
  • Royal reception
    Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall prepare for trip to downunder
  • New Zealand's Governor-General
    Government House publishes new booklet
  • 2012 London Olympic Games
    The Governor-General supports the NZ Olympic Team in London
  • Diamond Jubilee message
    The Governor-General's Diamond Jubilee message
  • Western Bay of Plenty regional visit
    The Governor-General makes his first official visit.
  • Open Days 2014
    Government House Open Days 2014
  • Christchurch and Canterbury Earthquake Anniversary
    The Governor-General's Programme
  • Waitangi Celebrations 2012
    The Governor-General's first Waitangi Day Programme
  • Governor-General's New Year Message
    Sir Jerry Mateparae issues his 1st New Year message - watch the video
  • State Opening of Parliament
    Governor-General announces the Government's plans
  • Speaker-elect confirmation ceremony
    Dr Smith confirmed as Speaker of the House
  • Appointment of the new Government
    The Governor-General appoints the new Government
  • Queen's Diamond Jubilee Emblem
    New emblem to mark the Diamond Jubilee
  • Rugby World Cup
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  • State Swearing-in of Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae
    A Government House short film
  • Royal NZ Navy 70th Anniversary
    The Governor-General hosted and attended associated events
  • New Zealand Gallantry Awards
    Government House has today issued a special honours list
  • One year on from the 4 September 2010 Canterbury earthquake
    Governor-General issues a message
  • Swearing in ceremony
    Sir Jerry Mateparae to become NZ's 20th Governor-General
  • Sir Paul Reeves
    New Zealand's first Governor-General of Maori descent dies
  • Visit by King George Tupou V of Tonga
    The Governor-General hosted a State Welcome for the King of Tonga
  • Māori King visits Government House
    The King plants a tree to mark the visit
  • Matariki
    The Governor-General's 2011 Matariki Message
  • The Royal Wedding
    Sir Anand and Lady Susan attended the Royal Wedding on 29 April
  • ANZAC Day message
    The Governor-General's message for ANZAC Day commemorations
  • The National Christchurch Memorial Service
    Details and photos are available here.
  • Christchurch Earthquake
    Governor-General offers the support of all New Zealanders
  • Canterbury earthquake
    World leaders send messages of support to New Zealand
  • Waitangi Day 2011
    Sir Anand Satyanand's last Waitangi Day as Governor-General
  • New Year Message
    Governor-General issues his message for 2011
  • Pike River Mine Tragedy
    World leaders send messages of support to New Zealand
  • Governor-General visits Canterbury
    A visit to support and encourage those affected by the earthquake
  • New Year Message
    Governor-General issues his message for 2010
  • Governor-General's 2009 New Year Message
    New Zealanders urged to volunteer