New Zealand Special Service Medal (Nuclear Testing)

The New Zealand Special Service Medal (Nuclear Testing) was awarded to personnel who were part of an official New Zealand Government presence at atmospheric nuclear tests between 1956 and 1973. This includes naval personnel who served in HMNZ Ships Pukaki and Rotoiti at Operation Grapple (British nuclear weapon tests in the Pacific), in 1957-58, as well as those aboard RNZN vessels sent to protest French nuclear tests at Mururoa Atoll in July 1973. The medal is gilt. The obverse of the medal features a representation of the New Zealand Coat of Arms. The reverse features a representation of a bouquet of New Zealand flora, composed of fern fronds and sprigs of blossom of pohutukawa, manuka, kowhai and Mt Cook lilies with a scroll inscribed “For Special Service”.  The ribbon is 32mm in width with an orange-yellow central stripe with Crimson, red, white and black stripes. The central stripe of the ribbon represents the core of the nuclear explosion fireball and stripes either side allude to the red luminous spherical wave formation radiating from it. The black represents the destruction caused by the explosion.