Monday 5 May 2008 was an historic day for the New Zealand Customs Service. The inaugural Customs Service medal presentation ceremony took place at Parliament where Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Helen Clarke presented medals to a representative group of 17 Customs officers.
Over 150 people attended the ceremony, held in the Banquet Hall, including many Customs staff including the Customs Kapa Haka group, who led the singing of the New Zealand National Anthem.
Master of Ceremonies Terry Brown (Manager Investigations) invited the Prime Minister to make the presentation of the medals before she spoke to the guests.
The Prime Minister was impressed with the number of long-serving officers in the organisation, “It is a credit to New Zealand Customs that the service has 150 employees who have been with the organisation for more than thirty years. This long service reflects the tremendous commitment which staff make to the organisation, and vice versa.”
The Prime Minister also spoke of the vital role Customs plays in the lives of New Zealanders and of the great importance of its duties in facilitating trade and travel, particularly since the September 11 attacks which brought new challenges to the organisation.
Helen Clark finished, “Thank you for the important work you do for New Zealand and for your commitment to the New Zealand Customs Service.”
The medal ceremony in May was the first of many, with around 300 Customs officers eligible, having given at least 14 years frontline service.
Presentations are planned for Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Tauranga and Wellington in the coming months.
Published in Customised July 2008
Images and information courtesy New Zealand Customs Service, 2011
The following article outlines the original decision to institute the medal for the New Zealand Customs by the Comptroller of Customs Martyn Dunne