Birkenhead RSA


Obverse: A representation of the New Zealand Coat of Arms.

Reverse: A representation of a bouquet of New Zealand flora, composed of fern fronds and sprigs of the blossom of Pohutukawa, Manuka, Kowhai, and Mt Cook Lilies, with a scroll below inscribed with the words 'FOR SPECIAL SERVICE'.

Size: 36mm in diameter.

Ribbon: 32 mm in width, the ribbon is composed of 7 stripes: dark blue, light blue, white, black, white, light blue, and dark blue. Dark blue alludes to the sea that surrounds Antarctica, and also alludes to the New Zealand Police who were involved with the recovery and identification of bodies. Light blue alludes to the sky and to Air New Zealand. White alludes to the ice and snow of Antarctica. Black alludes to the aircraft disaster (the aircraft crash on the slopes of Mount Erebus left a black streak across the polar ice). Black and white are also regarded as the national colours of New Zealand.

Suspension: By a plain straight suspender.

Instituted on 6 November 2006 to recognise the service of those who were involved with the extremely difficult and very unpleasant, hazardous, and extreme circumstances associated with the body recovery, crash investigation and victim identification phases of Operation Overdue. Operation Overdue was mounted by the New Zealand Police following the crash of Air New Zealand DC-10-30, ZK-NZP, Flight TE901 on the north slope of Mount Erebus, Ross Island, Antarctica on 28 November 1979, with the loss of all 257 passengers and crew.

The recovery and investigation phase of Operation Overdue lasted in Antarctica from 29 November 1979 to 12 December 1979. The identification phase of the operation at the mortuary of the Auckland University School of Medicine lasted from 6 December 1979 to 12 February 1980.

Service at one or more of the following locations will qualify persons for the award of the NZSSM (Erebus):
i) the crash site, Mount Erebus;
ii) on supply or support flights to and from the crash site;
iii) at Williams Field, McMurdo Station (service associated with the processing or packing of victims' remains and personal effects from the Erebus crash for transportation to New Zealand); or
iv) the Mortuary, Auckland University School of Medicine, Auckland.

Royal Warrant For This Award: View Warrant (PDF document)

Regulations For This Award: View Regulations (PDF document)

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