The New Zealand Special Service Medal was instituted in 2002. Medals issued under this warrant cover military service during nuclear testing operations (1956–73), the 1979 Erebus air-crash disaster and the 2004 Asian tsunami. Philip Hare of New Plymouth, formerly the chief petty officer on the HMNZS Otago, received his medal (at left, alongside his Pingat Jasa Malaysia medal) for service during French nuclear testing at Moruroa Atoll in French Polynesia in 1973. Service during nuclear testing operations has been controversial because some veterans believe they have suffered higher cancer rates than the general population as a result of exposure to nuclear radiation.
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Taranaki Daily News
Reference: 8 June 2009
Photograph by Cameron Burnell
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