New Zealand entertainers who entertained Allied troops during the Vietnam War may now be eligible for medallic recognition through the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).
CAPTION: The New Zealand Operational Service Medal (left) and the New Zealand General Service Medal with clasp “Vietnam”.
Eligible entertainers will be awarded the New Zealand General Service Medal 1992 with clasp “Vietnam” and the New Zealand Operational Service Medal.
Performers must have been New Zealand citizens at the time of service and have performed in Vietnam for more than 30 days between 1965 and 1972. New Zealand entertainers performed in Vietnam for six to 12 months at a time, giving up to 20 performances a week. Travel between performance venues involved obvious risks.
Lieutenant General (LTGEN) Tim Keating, the Chief of Defence Force, says non-military New Zealanders, such as medical support staff and humanitarian workers, played crucial roles during the conflict, often in dangerous situations.
“It’s timely that, in the 50th anniversary year of the Vietnam War, these New Zealand entertainers are recognised for their service in supporting Allied troops in Vietnam,” LTGEN Keating said.
Members of the Māori Quin Tikis, the Māori Te Kiwis, the Māori Ambassadors, the Māori Volcanics, the Māori HyMarques, and the Māori Travellieres showbands who entertained troops in Vietnam are encouraged to contact the NZDF to confirm their eligibility for medallic recognition. In cases where an eligible member is deceased, a family representative is encouraged to contact the NZDF to accept the medals on the member’s behalf.
“It is especially poignant for those families of the entertainers who have passed. We hope that the families will view these medals as we in the NZDF do, they are taonga (treasures) inherent with the mana of the person they are awarded to.
“Ka maumahara tonu tātou kia rātou, we will remember them”, LTGEN Keating said.
Entertainers and their family members who have had their eligibilty for medallic recognition confirmed will be able to attend the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War commemorations on 18 August 2016 in Wellington wearing these medals.
For personal and family enquiries regarding eligibility of New Zealand entertainers who entertained our troops during the Vietnam War, please contact NZDF Personnel Archives and Medals by email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Showbands in Vietnam” in the subject header by 5pm 24 June 2016.
For all other enquiries regarding medals and eligibility, visit medals.nzdf.mil.nz.
- Each eligible entertainer will receive two medals in recognition of their support to New Zealand and Allied military personnel in Vietnam:
– the New Zealand General Service Medal 1992 with clasp “Vietnam”, and
– the New Zealand Operational Service Medal.
- To be eligible, the entertainer must have:
– been a New Zealand citizen at the time of service in Vietnam; and
– have performed in Vietnam for 30 days or more between 1965 and 1972.
- Eligible entertainers are not entitled to pensions or other assistance from Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand.
- Eligible entertainers, or their family representative, who do not respond by 24 June 2016 will still be able to request their medallic recognition at their leisure.
- The request for medallic recognition was initiated by an enquiry from one of the entertainers, Herewini Selwyn Rawiri, who has since died.
- During World War 2, entertainers were enlisted in the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force and qualified for medallic recognition.
- In 2012, New Zealand comedian Mike King was awarded the New Zealand General Service Medal 2002 (Afghanistan) Primary Operational Area and the New Zealand Operational Service Medal for providing entertainment to New Zealand troops in Afghanistan for 30 days.
- New Zealand citizens who worked as war correspondents, New Zealand Embassy staff, members of the New Zealand (Civilian) Surgical Team, NZ Red Cross personnel, and a small number of other humanitarian workers have already been awarded New Zealand medallic recognition for their service as civilians in Vietnam.
- The United States Service Organisation contracted a range of entertainers and show bands to entertain United States and Allied troops serving in Vietnam.
- Over 40 New Zealand citizens entertained our troops in Vietnam between 1965 and 1972. Fortunately, there were no fatalities or casualties.