Topic: ANZAC

The faces behind the medals made to honour our soldiers

By Ani-Oriwia Adds
  • Wellington

Intricate details, hours of research and a passion for honouring our soldiers and their stories are only some of the elements in the formula required to make quality medals for our soldiers and their families.

Erina Reti of Tūwharetoa has spent two years creating medallions for past and current war veterans.

It was her 35 years spent in The NZ Defence Force that allowed her to understand and learn about the stories of each soldier, this prompted her interest to continue in this industry.

Medals R Us receive over 600 medal requests per year but Erina says that their busiest time is always leading up to ANZAC day.

Erina says "Our people who went away for us you know and they were issued with these medals for a reason and they went away for us for New Zealand and everyone else in the world have these taonga, so for me its just right there in the heart."

Erina says that each medal is a labour of love. Every intricate detail was thought out and handled with care.

She has retired from her usual work, but decided to keep going in this industry for her love for what she does and who the people are.

A lot of the letters they receive come from elderly people who have found the medals at the bottom of a drawer somewhere and would like them to be fixed up and presented well.

She says that the most important thing for her is making sure that the families who receive these medals know that love and care has been put into every single one of them.