UFBA Service Honours

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.

When planning your service honours presentations please avoid the weekend of our AGM and Conference, 1-3 November 2024.

Click here for more information including pricing and application forms. Please note that as of 1 January 2024, the service honours prices increased due to an increase in manufacturing costs from our supplier.

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.


All UFBA members, including career firefighters, are eligible for service honours.

The criteria for eligibility are spelled out in Sections 2 and 3 of the UFBA Regulations, specifically:

  • 3.1. For the purpose of calculating eligibility for Association Service Awards, an Enrolled Member must in any one Attendance Year be:
  • 3.1.1.  Present or be granted leave (pursuant to Regulation 3.2) for at least sixty seven percent (67%) of the Fire Brigade Members’ Musters; and
  • 3.1.2. Present for a minimum of twenty-five percent (25%) of all Fire Brigade Members’ Musters.

A muster is defined as each time a brigade assembles for training and/or a meeting. The UFBA service honours system is based on attendance at musters – a member is present, on leave or absent.

  • The higher the absent figure, the less likely the attending year will count towards honours
  • If a Brigade meets weekly 45 times a year, attendance is calculated as 67% of 45 = 30. So, to qualify for a year’s service a member must attend 30 musters.
  • A member can be approved on leave for a length of time but attendance at 25% of Brigade musters is still required; e.g. 45 musters x 25% = 12.

Proving Service

UFBA service records will show when someone is due an honour and what that honour is. You can ask UFBA staff to send records for an individual or the whole brigade.

There is a process for confirming unrecorded service, but this can take time. It might involve, for example, filling in a Statutory_Declaration_Applicant.pdf Statutory_Declaration_Others_in_Support or photographing a certificate or medal.

Difference between UFBA/FENZ honours

The difference between UFBA and FENZ awards is:

  • UFBA awards are based on muster attendance and administered by UFBA. UFBA awards have been a tradition since the late 1800s.
  • FENZ administers and pays for Queen’s Long Service and Good Conduct medals which are ordered through your FENZ region office or the FENZ portal – you can request service records from us.

Brigade Honorary Membership Awards

There are two honorary membership types:

  • Brigade Life Honorary Membership:
    • Each nominee for this membership must by proposed and seconded by members at a regular meeting or AGM, and agreed by a majority of members present at the meeting and eligible to vote
    • Brigade Life Honorary Members are entitled to attend brigade meetings but are not counted as part of a quorum nor eligible to vote
    • Brigades considering nominating a Brigade Life Honorary Membership and who wish to apply for a medal under Regulation 2.1.3 should first consult with the UFBA office to ensure the award is appropriate and to seek approval from the UFBA Board
    • A Brigade Life Honorary Membership Medal may be approved for:
  • An enrolled member who has attained a Gold Star Award or
  • Any person retiring from a brigade who has served a minimum 15 years
  • Any person in exceptional circumstances approved by the UFBA Board.
  • Brigade Honorary Membership:
    • Usually elected at a brigade’s AGM and might include former brigade members or people in the community who assist the brigade in an important way
    • An Honorary Member’s lapel badge is available for purchase through the UFBA Fire Shop.

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'.

Medals – Order of Wear

UFBA or a mix of UFBA/FRFANZ medals may be worn at meetings, musters and events such as reunions and funerals. They must be worn in the same pattern (Order of Wear) as shown in the guide above.

Miniature medals are worn as smaller replicas of the full-sized medals, worn at formal events on tuxedos and formal jackets or dresses. If more than one miniature is being worn, they must comply with the Order of Wear.

Ribbons may be worn instead of medals on uniform and certain civilian dress when it’s not appropriate to wear medals. (Certain civilian dress wear is suits, costumes, evening wear, sports jacket etc., but not causal, sporting or leisure attire).

It is not acceptable to wear both medals and miniatures, nor medals and ribbons (with the exception of citation ribbons).

If more than one ribbon is worn, it must comply with the Order of Wear – reflecting the order and arrangement of medals. It is not acceptable to wear both medals and miniatures, nor medals and ribbons (with the exception of citation ribbons).

If a number of ribbons are being worn it may be convenient to have two rows: Royal Awards and Military Medals in the top row, UFBA medals in the second row. Never the other way around. There should be no gap between the top and second row.