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New medal for Asian Tsunami relief efforts

New medal for Asian Tsunami relief efforts

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Defence Minister Phil Goff announced a new medal for New Zealanders who served in areas affected by the Boxing Day tsunami.

Helen Clark said the New Zealand Special Service Medal (NZSSM Asian Tsunami) will be awarded to New Zealanders involved in rescue, relief, rehabilitation efforts, and associated activities in the areas devastated by the earthquake and resulting tsunami on December 26, 2004.

"The NZSSM (Asian Tsunami) recognises the special service of those New Zealanders who undertook often harrowing tasks in dangerous conditions," Helen Clark said.

"The new medal will also recognise work related to the location of missing New Zealanders, the identification of victims, and a variety of other forms of service.

"The length of qualifying service for the medal will be at least 7 days between 26 December 2004 and 28 February 2005, or at least 14 days between 26 December 2004 and 26 December 2005.

"New Zealanders were involved in relief efforts in Banda Aceh (Indonesia), Phuket (Thailand), Galle (Sri Lanka), Male (The Maldives), and the Andaman Islands.

“Today the NZ ambassador to Bangkok, Peter Rider, will attend commemorations in Phuket, and the deputy NZ ambassador in Jakarta, David Strachan, will attend ceremonies in Banda Aceh, Indonesia."

Defence Minister Phil Goff said that an initial 163 people, who had served in a devastated area in the first two months after the disaster, had been identified as eligible for the medal.

They include personnel from the New Zealand Police, the New Zealand Defence Force, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and non-governmental organisations.

Other New Zealanders who meet the eligibility criteria will be awarded the NZSSM (Asian Tsunami) during 2006, once applications from organisations and individuals are received and approved by the New Zealand Defence Force, who will administer the medal.

Further details on the eligibility criteria, and an application form, will be available from the New Zealand Defence Force Medals website: http://medals.nzdf.mil.nz/news

Application forms should be sent to: Assistant Director Medals Policy, Personnel Branch, Headquarters New Zealand Defence Force, Private Bag, Wellington, New Zealand.

Images of the NZSSM (Asian Tsunami) are attached and can also be found at: http://medals.nzdf.mil.nz/downloads/

Also attached is a list of the 163 people initially identified as eligible to receive the NZSSM (Asian Tsunami).

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