Recognising your contribution to fire and emergency services in our communities

Service honours have been awarded since the UFBA was founded in 1878 and are exclusive to our members. They reflect your commitment and our appreciation for what you have achieved.

Service honours are based on muster attendance. We keep records for all individuals belonging to every member brigade – over 13,500 people – and process applications for the awards below:

  • 3 Year Certificate
  • 5 Year Medal
  • Silver bar - every two years (e.g. 7, 9, +2 years up to 23 years)
  • 25 Year Gold Star
  • Gold bar - every two years (e.g. 27, 29, +2 years up to 49 Years and then 52 years+)
  • 40 Year Certificate
  • 50 Year Service Medal
  • 60 Year Certificate.
Service Hons walkthru guide 2021

For a printable version of this image see below:

Applying for Service Honours

Your CFO or Secretary can order service honours at any time; however, they will not be sent until closer to the recipient’s completion date (of time served).

  1. Complete the relevant application forms (see below), and email them to: 
  2. For multiple applications, you only need to fill in the details once but please ensure they can be clearly read and check that names are spelt correctly.
  3. Orders for medals should be submitted at least three months before the presentation date.
  4. Orders for bars/certificates should be submitted at least one month before the presentation date (you can order bars as required or for the whole year).
  5. The UFBA checks the eligibility of each recipient
  6. We send an invoice and process the order once payment is received. Medals and bars are sent directly from our supplier to the brigade. 
  7. Unless requested otherwise, we schedule orders to be delivered 4 - 6 weeks before the presentation date (if there is no date, we work to our supplier's schedule for delivery).

Application forms and templates

For application forms, protocols and guides and invitation templates click here.

UFBA-FRFANZ service honours

The UFBA and FRFANZ (Forest and Rural Fire Association of New Zealand) merged in 2020. This involved aligning the two sets of service awards and starting to transition towards one set for all members (UFBA service awards were chosen). 

FRFANZ members can choose to wear:

  • FRFANZ awards only (for the next 25 years)
  • UFBA awards only (this will involve a cost for replacement medals/bars)
  • Their existing FRFANZ awards together with new UFBA awards.

Read about service honours alignment

See FAQs about the alignment


Q» Our brigade has a Gold Star presentation coming up. How do we arrange for a UFBA representative to make the presentation?

UFBA protocol, in keeping with tradition, is that 25 Year Gold Star and 50 Year Service Medal must be presented by the President, Vice President or an appointed representative. If a brigade requests a particular presenter, this must be approved by the President (and depends on location).

Please email the service honours team about your upcoming Gold Star/50-Year presentations, ideally at least six months in advance to give us time to find a presenter, even if you haven't yet set a date.

Download the 'Protocols for UFBA Gold Star Presentations' document under the Service honours Resources page.

Q» How is time-served measured?
Time-served is worked out according to attendance at musters – this is so brigade members who are not active firefighters, such as operational support, can also be recognised for their contribution. It also ensures your engagement with the brigade is registered, to provide the records we need to check against.

Muster attendance for each year must be at least 67% (which can include authorised leave) - you must be present for 25% of brigade musters for the year 1 July to 30 June.

When Statutory Declarations are required

In some circumstances, for example when brigade records are incomplete, an applicant and others in support of the applicant may be required to complete Statutory Declarations regarding service details. Download these Statutory Declaration forms here or see below:

Service Honours Statutory Declaration: Applicant (PDF, 83KB)

Service Honours Statutory Declaration: Others in Support (PDF, 69KB)

Q» Where are they made?
We support local craftspeople. All of our Service Honours medals and bars are handmade in Blenheim by Badges and Medals, a family -owned business, to exacting standards of quality to designs dating back over a hundred years. 25 Year Gold Stars and 50 Year Service Medals are made of solid 9ct gold and all certificates are printed to professional standards with a family-owned Wellington printer.

Q» Can we run Service Honours presentations under Covid-19 levels?
Brigades should not hold any events at Level 3 alert. You can find government guidelines here. Events can go ahead at Level 2, with the following restrictions:

  • No more than 100 people in one space (including catering staff, etc)
  • Fire and Emergency guidelines in 2020 stated that no functions were to be held at fire stations. Consider a contingency plan or alternative venue if necessary.
  • QR codes should be used for all events - you can get further help with that here.
  • Social distancing – maintain 1 metre distancing between people who don’t regularly meet with each other, and be especially mindful of vulnerable attendees
  • Extended cleaning procedures – ensure frequent cleaning of surfaces, plenty of soap/paper towels in each toilet, hand sanitisers to be readily available
  • Catering recommendation – for buffet meals, catering staff serve food or provide individual portions

Valour Medal

Nominations are welcome for the rare UFBA Valour medal. The medal is probably one of the rarest medals of its kind in the world having only been presented four times since its inception in 1880. The first to J. Robb of Dunedin in 1882, then to T. Thompson of Wanganui in 1891, A.Ashworth of Alexandra in 1908 and S.Shadbolt of Christchurch in 2014.

Applicants must be from a member brigade who exhibits 'exceptional personal courage saving or attempting to save human life, and may have placed his or her own life in danger at any fire, emergency or other fire brigade operation'. Download and submit the relevant form below.