Skip to main content

Wearing family member's medals with pride on Anzac Day

News: 23 April 2013

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 deceased ex-service personnel on the right side of the chest for national days of memorial.  This includes Anzac Day and Remembrance Day (11 November), as well as other notable events.

LTGEN Rhys Jones talking to a young boy who is wearing family medals. Image is courtesy of the New Zealand Defence Force.

Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General (LTGEN) Rhys Jones says: “Each year I am delighted to see a large number of New Zealanders wearing their relatives' medals at Anzac Day services.

“By doing so they are honouring the memory of their relative by wearing the 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 allowed to wear their deceased relatives' medals while in uniform on this day, under the same convention.”

Conventions for wearing a relatives' medals include:

    • Civilian members of the public should only wear one set of medals. The medals should be those of a direct relative, 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 acceptable to wear a family member’s miniature medals mounted on a medal bar if preferred.
    • 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 wearing of relatives' medals is permitted on Anzac Day (25 April) and Remembrance Day (11 November). In addition, it may be appropriate for next-of-kin and other relatives to wear relatives' 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.  

“On Anzac Day 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

Updated on 15th April 2020